Cavaletti are essentially raised poles. The benefit of them is that they’re inviting for your pony, and jumping them should put less stress and strain on his muscles and joints than working over bigger fences. You can buy ready made cavaletti or special stands for poles. If your yard doesn’t have these, use small blocks to lift the poles a few inches off the ground.
Exercise: Super serpentine
This exercise asks you to ride a three-loop serpentine over cavaletti, and its a brilliant way to practise loads of the skills you need for jumping a course of fences. It’ll help teach you to land and rebalance your pony before changing direction and getting straight for your next fence. It’s great for his suppleness, too!
Set it up
Place three caveletti along the centre line – one at X, one between K and F and another between H and M. The poles should face the long sides.
- Start by riding large on the left rein, and encourage your pony to move forward in an active trot.
- Approach the first cavaletti at A. To make sure you stay straight, aim for the middle of the pole and keep your eyes up.
- On landing, look up to the next fence, and open your left rein slightly to guide your pony around the turn. Nudging him at the girth with your inside leg will encourage him to bend.
- Ride over the second cavaletti. This time when you land open your right rein and place your right leg against the girth. You’ll also need to change your diagonal by sitting for two beats of the trot.
- Ride over the third cavaletti to finish your serpentine.
- Have a go in the other direction, remembering to use the opposite aids as you’ll be starting on the right rein.
Get your copy of November PONY for more brill cavaletti exercises, on sale 25 September.