Sunday, December 14, 2014

food for thought: Anne Kursinski video series

Alli from PONY'TUDE posted about Anne Kursinski's free video series "Improving Distances, Timing and Rhythm with Anne Kursinski's Cavaletti Exercises." We all know how much I love riding with different trainers - and this is almost like the real thing. 

After watching, it's interesting to note how very similar these exercises are to the hunter lessons at ST. I always brought those lessons home to practice with Isabel - but have been on hiatus from that barn since September. (The videos also reminded me of L. Williams' recent lesson posts)

Anyways, for those of you have haven't already signed up (it's free!) and for my own record, here are my thoughts. 

The warm up:


Trot a ground pole in each direction, halting straight a few strides out. First few trips are in posting trot, next few trips are in two-point (which is picked up early and maintained after). Then canter cavaletti in each direction and halt straight. 


video screenshot

My Take: We should totes do this. It's easy and low pressure - but solid practice. 

I used to always halt straight after fences (habit from ST), but haven't been lately. But I also consistently have trouble organizing going into a corner after a jump. Specifically, Isabel almost always lands on her right lead and I'm frequently late with the simple change. Repetition of this exercise may help.


The exercise:


Count strides. Anne doesn't like counting 1-2-1-2 (which is what I do) bc it doesn't 'flow', or counting down (3-2-1) bc it promotes a backwards ride. Rather, she prefers counting up from one to encourage flowing forward strides to the fence. 

First, the rider counts eight strides out 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 to a single cavaletti. Nbd if it turns into 7 or 9 though - just keep counting to the fence. Do this with a single cavaletti a few times in each direction. Halt straight each time. 

Then count 8 out to a line of three fences (this counting is maintained throughout the entire exercise), set 5 strides apart. Get 5 to 5 down the line. Then come back and get 5 to 6. The 6 should be possible with a light half seat/two point. Halt straight.




Next time halt between the second and third elements - as close to the second as possible. Come around again and get 5-7. To fit the 7, rider will have to sit down and use seat. Halt straight. 

Anne then has the rider go down the line in 5-6, reverse at canter, then come back up in 5-7. That final 7 is trickiest bc as we know, horses tend to build to the end of a course. If the 7 is difficult to fit, rider should halt almost immediately after the fence. Otherwise, the halt can come at a few strides out. 


My Take: The exercise is too big for our arena. Le sigh.


However we could get the 8-strides-out counting bit to work if the cavaletti is on the A-C line, and we come from A on alternating leads... (I can also practice this silently in OF lessons)

And, we could fit the line by altering the positioning so that it actually becomes bending lines. This removes the 8-stride straight approach (tho probably counting from any approach is useful), and maybe defeats some of the purpose as it's easier to fit strides in on bending lines by simply increasing the bend... but hey, it works well enough for our training level.



I'm also thinking these would make good exercises in our open field at home. We may or may not still have bolting issues out there, so this could give us an opportunity to have something tangible to focus on if the openness becomes skerry. 

Regardless, I want to give this a try to help me better understand our pace and rhythm. 


Did you sign up for the videos? Have you watched any yet? If so, what do you think - are you going to try the exercises out?

27 comments:

  1. That is really cool! I have filed this in the "things to try out when my horse is sound" section of my brain :)

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    1. awesome! and fingers crossed that he's sound soon!

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  2. I've been watching the videos as well - so far these are the same exercises George Morris had the lower level group doing at one of the clinics I watched, cool to see a recap. I'm way jealous of her ring too! I'm with you on maybe setting up some bending lines instead.

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    1. yea that ring... i would love to have access to something like that! but the bending lines will be just as useful, i think

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  3. Totally watching these over the winter! I LOVE Anne!

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    1. yea i like her too. the exercises aren't exactly ground breaking, but i like the way she explains and coaches through it

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  4. I will definitely start watching these! Thanks for sharing :)

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  5. I watched the first two AK videos and found some took points to take home about using varying types of seats (full, half). I do the varying number of strides with ground poles already on occasion and its a very good exercise!

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    1. yea i liked her points about the varying seats too. and i kinda highly suspect that most hunter barns are already doing the adjustability type stuff...

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  6. I watched these and kept waiting for something interesting but thought it was really just the same old exercise I've seen (and done) a million times before. Adjustability type work is always good though... she just didn't say anything noteworthy for me.

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    1. yea the videos didn't really show me anything new - tho for my purposes i really struggle to do this type of work on my own and kinda need that 'coaching' to actually get stuff done

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  7. thanks for sharing I'm going to check this out!

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  8. Thanks for sharing I am going to go look at the videos now! Cavaletti exercises are perfect for the winter months

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    1. i agree - cavalettis are so great bc they're easy to set up, and you can do a few different variations over the same pattern

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  9. I love poles and cavaletti! I've seen some of her exercises before in books and Practical Horseman--she has great stuff!

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    1. i love poles and cavaletti too - great way to work on some technical stuff without needing a ton of equipment lol

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  10. Signed up and watched one! I've been practicing with poles a lot on my hack rides, making one stride/bounce squares and just trying to get as center and straight as possible. Need to bring back the alternating stride pole line though. So excited for her series, I really want to ride with her.

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    1. those squares sound like great practice too! i love pole exercises, bc they are just so useful for working on technical type stuff without worrying about fence height etc... i'm just so bad at actually doing them lol

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    1. i really enjoyed her way of explaining! (and need to start rethinking how i count strides, perhaps...)

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  12. I might have to check out the videos, although I'm not sure how relevant they will be to us since Chrome is so green and we don't jump hehe. I'm glad they are useful for you!

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    1. You might be surprised - one of the big takeaways is developing rhythm at the canter - so useful for more than just jumping

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    2. That sounds cool! I'll definitely check it out. :D

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    3. definitely! it never hurts - especially with a young horse who is still figuring out where is feet actually are at any given moment lol. the poles really help with that 'awareness'

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    4. Very true. I've totally failed on pole work because I don't have any and I never find time to make some out of saplings. The PVC worked okay, but it's not big enough to make him lift his feet well. I need to just buy some four by fours or something. :)

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