This exercise is very suitable to improve the turns especially to detect and correct any problem with the horse or rider’s symmetry. Directing correctly the horse on the path is key to success. If the rider stays in a centred position (middle position) without interfering with the horse’s balance, he/she’ll be able to turn short and win the few seconds that will make the difference.
This has to first be practised over small jumps like cavalettis as shown in this video with Michel and his student Marine.
This exercise created by Michel doesn’t present any difficulties with regard to the height of the jumps. Therefore, it can be a good transition between some flat work and work over fences. It will allow the repetitions of the exercise without tiring the horse or taking any risk. In this session, Marine rides Amanda, a 7 year old German warm blood mare.
While practising the exercise in both directions, Marine gets to find out which of the small imperfections in her position or in the quality of her requests, are influencing the path and quality of jump of her mare. As Michel notices, horses who drift to the right or left, do so because their riders have a tendency to lean toward the direction they want to follow.
Thanks to this cavaletti exercise and to the solutions Michel offers, Marine will be able to master the exercise and to learn to direct her mare on a precise path with a minimum of demands.