Variation: Two Cavalletti on a Bending Line
Ride the line about five times in each direction. Ride to the center of each pole on the same track every time, making adjustments in your canter to produce the desired number of strides. Turn the page to see photos of the exercise.
To begin this exercise on a bending line, I approach the first cavalletti in a normal canter. In the air, I turn to look at the second cavalletti. Chance has lost his straightness, shifting his body slightly to the right and swapping leads in the air. (Notice his left front leg is higher than his right, which means he’s changing to his stronger left lead.) This is a great example of how this exercise reveals your horse’s strengths and weaknesses so you know how to plan for what he might do in the show ring. The next time I ride this line, I’ll use my core strength and inside leg to straighten his body. As soon as he lands, I use my inside leg to push him back out to the track and then ask for a flying change. Rather than letting that disrupt our rhythm and balance, I keep my eye on the second cavalletti and focus on maintaining the same canter we had in the approach. As a result, Chance continues smoothly along the bending line. Over the second cavalletti, I keep slightly firmer pressure on my inside leg to remind Chance to stay straight in his body in the air and land on the right lead. I’ll use this knowledge in the show ring, remembering to be careful to keep him from diving to the right when riding bending lines on his right lead.