Thursday, September 29, 2022

keepin' it simple

Are you tired of me talking about ground poles and cavalletti exercises yet? Um, well... too bad.

dusty late summer canterin'
We're easing rapidly into my favorite riding conditions -- except, damn the ground is still really hard. I wanna sharpen everything up and enjoy the pleasantly cool temps while we still have daylight... But I also don't really wanna slam Charlie around on hard ground, ya know? 

trit trottin' over six ground poles, spaced 9' apart
So. Eh. We improvise. Rain is in the forecast (which.... ugh, stay safe Florida! and then please send your leftovers our way!), but until then I'm enjoying tinkering with poles. 

i know it doesn't *look* like my right heel is down. but it *feels* like it lol
This time around, tho, I just kinda threw down an old faithful, didn't bother looking into the Grid Pro Quo book (tho, have no fear --- plenty more to come from that book soon!). 

c'mon tho, what's not to love?
I basically just took apart a short line of cross rails and turned it into a long line of what can either be spacious trot poles or easy bounces at canter (about 9' between each pole).

ooooh hey lookie, we can do it the other way too!
I kinda like trotting through more spaced out long lines of poles bc 1) the extended space is more forgiving if you wobble somewhere along the way; and 2) the longer the line, the longer the horse has to hold his posture and balance.

atta boy, chuck!
And Charlie, for his part, felt quite steady thru it all! He never really looks as good as he feels bc... Well... he's a big giant rangy brontosaurus lol. He is who he is, and I am who I am, and so we go the way we go. And it's good enough!

same distance but just two poles instead of the full line
I was nice, tho, and set up a much shorter line -- just two poles, but set at the same 9' distance -- elsewhere in the arena so that we could work up to the long line at all gaits. 

We started by walking through everything, then trotted through the two on a circle off both directions until it felt smooth and balanced, then made our way down the big line a couple times on both reins.

but oooh we can in fact canter the whole line too <3
The nice thing about this 9' distance is that it's good for cantering too! So obviously that was next up! I'm kinda sad tho bc Charlie was basically perfection our first few passes thru -- being his big bad self stepping from walk to canter then acing the ground poles. 

Tho... as is our habit, after a little break while we waited for a friend to be able to video us, he was a little more dull when we went back to put it together into a little course -- including the same grid we did last weekend (tho at even smaller heights this time --- basically cavalletti). 

So if you think it looks a little weak and underpowered.... Yea lol. 'Twas. Nbd, tho, we did another quick pass (not on camera) with slightly more gusto, then called it a night. 

I love this type of work for Charlie bc... Yea he can be a sluggish uninspired horse when it's just me nudging him along on the flat. But give him some actual physical landmarks, some exercises that are self-evident to him, and.... he gets it done quite nicely! 

It's also nice too, bc I can use these types of set-ups to get him moving in a 'jumping' sort of way, but without all the pounding in bad ground conditions. Or at least, that's the idea haha. Whatever keeps it fun and fresh, right?? And maybe if we're lucky and get some rain in the next day, we'll put the poles back up again and see what that pony can do, eh?


  1. I definitely don't mind the bread and butter posts - that is what life with horses really is! They're so clever getting it done with wayyyyyy less input from us when we give them the exercises. Ben surprised me with my ground pole triangle; I'm going to use this one and the circle/serpentine one as well.

    1. dude --- AGREED!! any time i can sorta take myself out of the equation and let charlie solve the problems himself is #worthit lololol bc damn we all know his eye is WAY better than mine! plus ya know... it really gives me a lot of confidence at the end of the day that i'm sitting on a horse who has fully internalized the process and mechanics!

  2. This was basically my plan for this weekend while trainer is away at a show. Set up some 9' poles and cavaletti and torture ourselves through it. I also appreciate the flexibility of trotting and cantering through without resetting things. Torture, but make it fun.

    1. lol one woman's torture is another woman's good time ;) but yea these 9' distances really are the shit. i liked the 21' distances we did a couple weeks ago (the Ryan Wood page from Grid Pro Quo), but that ended up being more about focusing on holding some uphill balance while on a longer step, also a good thing i suppose, but maybe not quite so versatile!


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