Thursday, January 8, 2009

Airs Above the Ground and Cavalletti 1

Airs above the ground are strategic moves that the Lipizzaner Stallions and other horses of battle were taught to avoid the enemy and to safeguard the rider.

Today, though I should have used the arena to my one there at is 1 of 2 days that lessons are not underway, yet, I was drawn to the outdoors, as the sun was spotted!!

This fantastic move, seen in the link above, is fancy and for the talented, disciplined horse to achieve. Yet somehow, I without any pre -training was given this move today, going up a trail homeward! WA in rare form, hopped on her hind legs , just like that Lipizzaner does. Though today it was with me on her, to my great shock and to hers....we turned around and went 10 minutes back to the trail head, away from home, for a do-over! And I gladly report that she was near- buckle-with -contact all the way home after that.

We were able to use my new Equestrian Accessory that I purchased after Christmas today Australian Oilskin Duster! It was toasty warm and the layers snapped around my legs and parted easily for mounting and sitting in the saddle.

So, without more ado, I tell you the tale of the Cavalletti and why I adore it's use . For those who are just starting to introduce the Cavalletti's to their horse ;( I am going by the book here) "it is easier for the horse if he goes over the cavalletti without his rider. He is entirely free and natural since there is no weight to hinder his movements, no hand to pull him backwards and no spur to give him the wrong aid at the wrong moment." "- If you take time over the basic training and devote the greatest care to the easier exercises, you will later go further much more quickly."

Basically, I do believe all that Klimpke's teach in this little book called "Cavalletti". There is more to it than you may think...if the distances are incorrect you run the risk of some serious injury either because the horse trips and rolls the polls if they are not in stands..or as I read; "If, however cavalletti work is overdone, or if the placing of each single rail is not suited to the horse's natural rhythm and action, then there is the danger of serious injury.Muscles improve through exercise only when they are used appropriately to their position and their internal condition." it goes onto say how swelling and debility disturbances can occur in the muscles if done incorrectly.

So basically, my friends, knowing the correct distances and having another to help you see that your horse is not altering it's gate over the rails helps if you are not sure. I really don't want anyone to hurt their horse.

I took the advise of the author Reiner Klimpke and hand walked my mare over the 4- spaced for walking- ground polls that were in a row, for 10 minutes first, to supple her joints.

Then I lunged her over a set of four single polls- above-for another 10 minutes in both directions before I went to lunging over the trotting Cavallettis I would later ride over in two point-below-. I have done cavallettis before with my sister many times..she has schooled me about my balance and seat and hands.When I first started, we would do 2 singles polls places on a 20 meter circle like the diagram above but with only 2 polls across from each other. I would post the trot for 3 strides, then place my hands on her neck for balance and in two point allow my mare to look for the rail and go over it..again to a posting trot for about 3-4 strides while I looked ahead 5 meters always to the next section of track, then go to two point balance over the rail again. it was very good to do for me as I had to think ahead 5 to 10 meters always and never looking directly at the poll as we went over it but ahead 5-10 meters. My sister taught me that.."Where you look ahead to is where you want the horse to be or go." It correctly positions your upper body when you do this.
I will continue to tell you about this cavalletti stuff again in small I like it when I am doing it ! That is why I went to the trails then off, school then off, will be my routine. Though; Washashe is totally accountable on the trails as well. Dressage carries over well,anywhere I find!


  1. I think watching dressage is magical. I love when the horses look like their dancing.

  2. I'm with you. Dressage is the best, and such a strong foundation for any type of riding (English or Western).
    Wa probably likes the alternation of It's so cold and icy here, I can't even think about riding.

  3. Dressage, as defined, simply means "the art of training." So, if you just go by the definition, every discipline is dressage...we've just managed to put it in a category all it's own and gentrify it. Do dressage with great joy and enthusiasm, your horse will appreciate it.

    I love, love, love cavaletti work and you could not have chosen a better trainer than Klimke.

  4. Oh, yay, thanks for the cavalletti explanation!

    I love it when my horse does something goofy and I can say it's just upper-level dressage. He wants to trot back to the barn, but I want him to go slow? Look, he can piaffe! Is he running away from a Horse Eating Mailbox? No, he's just showing off a pirouette!

    paemi: What you say to someone who owes you money!

  5. It sounds like you had a successful schooling day! I'll have to keep checking back now so I can use all you ideas to school my horse ;)

  6. You look so "downunder" in that coat girl! I used cavallettis a ton when I first started lunging Maddy...I think I need to revisit them. I just always forget to set them up before I get in the arena:-)

  7. WOW! A Courbette, unasked for, eh?
    How exciting! Not. lol!

    Good for you making Wa head back for a do-over. I'm sure you got your point across.

    Cavaletti play, too? Even school can be fun, as long as theirs horses, right? :)


  8. What an unexpected fun maneuver at the trails end. Glad she got a do over and calmed down. I love that coat too!

  9. Magic it is...the tricks of the trade are somewhat a uniquie set of communications...still working on my language Gail!

    Lori, I love it complex and slight are the movements..I am learning not to yell! Wa does need the variation in day to biggest traing issue is when I find something that may not work the third time..she's moved on..and sometimes the second time. She hates repeating..have to ultra fresh routines!

    Jenn..Hi!Yes..she does enjoy it as I get lighter!

    I am laughing with you Funder...yes, we have done Piaffe too...the good part is..feeling what it feels like out on the trail give me a great antitpation for it in the arena> KNOWING she can do it, I need to learn how to ask ther and create the enthusiasm
    for her to round up with out enciting her inward riot that makes it's way ourward! wanting to add much more safety tips to the Cavalletti posts...Like leg wraps...ect

    Jules,I was thinking about you and Cavallettis w/ Maddy...that would be an awesome way to build her back! I love my Coat...glad that my sissy did not leave me hers is a large and this is a small..fits perfectly! I like the black better too.

    Lisa...glad to see you made it to the internet..I know you are terribly sore and I did not send the package today as I got some advise from my naturalpathic nurse I ride with, for some good healing aids! Monday it will come together.
    Everytie my mare does stunts like she does...I now think of you and pray I can stay on...I have sticky pants always...the Kerrit's "Grip Tight" ones are very sticky!

    Grey Horse, it did feel neat for the shear power of it...but yea..I was none too pleased

  10. I'm having fun following your blog! It's been a few years since I've competed in dressage. Yup~ still the best foundation for any style of riding. Cavaletti help so much. Love R. Klimke teachings...oh, and your coat too! I have an oilskin duster mee-self...LOL Take care and stay warm! Ingrid in snowy Ohio...brrrr

  11. Ingrid, Hello to you!
    So nice to meet you here. It is still snowing in Ohio possibly may be more used to it than us here. We jsut don't knnow how to handle it for as loooong as it lasted and eep as it got!
    Yea, I do love my duster too! And Cavalettis are proving to be fun but timely in construction!
    See you again!


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