This creative and fun exercise leads to approaching the fences on a curve and not on a straight line as we usually practise. It is excellent practice for speed challenges. The set-up will encourage the rider to tighten her turns while remaining calm and in control of her horse as well as in control of the track in order to prepare for the rest of the course. This exercise is also very interesting for horses who pick up the game very quickly. The unexpected track encourages horses to pay attention and trust the rider. Bottom line, horses become more responsive and interested in the job.
Michel is teaching Charlotte and her horse Tito, an 8 year old gelding, through this new exercise. The session starts with some recommendations on how to ride this exercise. The rider has to anticipate each part of the track in order to stay as quiet as possible in her aids. This becomes even more crucial as the fences come one after the other very quickly. The rider has to frame her horse keeping her aids light. When the horse works with fewer constraints, he is more inclined not only to understand the exercise but also to enjoy practising. As we like to say over and over, success is linked to the horse’s understanding what we expect from him and his desire to do it well.
As the rider and horse become accustomed to and at ease with this exercise, the verticals can be changed to oxers. It is also possible to alternate verticals and oxers in this course.