Practicing with Cavalettis

Start with the basics

Aim of the exercise is to keep the horse and rider in a straight line while executing a downward and upward transition.

What you will need:

  • Two poles
  • Between two and five sets of caralettis

Setup

in a straight line down the centre of your arena, place your two poles mounted on caralettis 18 steps (1 step = 0.9m) apart. In the middle of your two raised poles, place two caralettis with enough space between them for your horse to go through and once again, each end of your line, place two more cavalettis with enough space for your horse to go through.

What to do

Novice:

Walk straight down the centre of your line, and in-between your beacons, do a downward transition to halt. Keep your eyes up and your leg and hand even. Proceed with an upward transition to walk and walk over your raised pole. Once again, when you pass the beacons in the middle, do a transition to halt. Then, again do an upward transition to walk and walk over your raised pole. To finish off your exercise, do a downward transition to halt between your last beacons.

Medium:

Trot straight down the centre of your line, and in-between your beacons, do a downward transition to walk. Proceed with an upward transition to trot and trot over your raised pole. Once again, when you pass the beacons in the middle, do a downward transition to walk. Then, again do an upward transition to trot and trot over your raised pole. To finish off your exercise, do a downward transition to halt between your last beacons.

Advanced:

Trot straight down the centre of your line, in-between your beacons do a downward transition to halt. Proceed with an upward transition to trot and trot over your raised pole. Once again, when you pass the beacons in the middle, do a downward transition to halt. Then, again do an upward transition to trot and trot over your raised pole. To finish off your exercise, do a downward transition to halt between your last beacons.

Important things to remember:

  • Be gentle but accurate when doing transitions; the more you practice them, the better they will become.
  • Keep your leg on during downward transitions to prevent your horse from collapsing into the transition. Having your leg on encourages your horse to stay active with their hindquarters and use their core to hold their body in the transition.
  • Keep your fingers closed during transitions, so your horse doesn’t pull the reins out of your hands. You must also keep your weight in your heels and your core engaged. This will allow you to keep a soft elbow but not be pulled out of your saddle by your horse.

Extracted by HQ Magazine, Back to Basics. November Issue 2021.