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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fit to Ride Part 8: Arena Exercises Obstacles

Bromiley’s tool box of equine conditioning methods is:

(ordered progressively)
Classical exercises – long reins
Classical exercises – ridden
Ground poles – long reins at walk, trot, and canter
Raised poles – long reins at walk, trot, and canter
Small fences – long reins at trot and canter
Ground poles – ridden at walk, trot, canter
Raised poles – ridden at walk, trot , canter
Small fences – ridden at trot and canter
Grids (six or more cavaletti) – loose schooled, trot, canter
Grids – ridden at trot and canter
Changes of pace – transitions up and down
Changes of direction – circles, serpentines

There is also a section that describes the progressively loading for trail work that includes grass slopes, road hills, small fences, etc.

She goes into depth on what we are trying to accomplish with progressive loading and circuit training including endurance, strength, balance, and obedience.

She prefers long line work as opposed to lunging because of the degree of control – specifally being able to control the horses balance. Most of her arena work that is not ridden, she recommends in long lines. This section of the book has the most pictures and drawings, to help the reader visualize what she is saying. It is on this section alone that I am considering purchasing the book. I think this book, along with a Cherry Hill book on ground exercises, would provide a good base of knowledge for ground work.

Poles are used to control stride length, joint flexibility, coordination and re-establish balance after an injury. She gives the proper intervals (for an average horse) for setting poles according to gait. Handy reference! 1 meter is recommended for a walk, 1.5 m for a trot, and 3.5 m for a canter. Bromiley recommends determining starting points for the poles by measuring the distance between the imprints of the front and hind feet at different gaits.

Poles can be used on the ground and spaced to either shorten or lengthen a stride. You want to place poles so that the foot of the horse lands in the middle of the space between poles. You can gradually add more poles as the horse “gets” it.

Bromiley states that the horse works harder at middle paces than extended paces because the elastic recoil of the tendons and ligaments aids the horse during extended paces. Interesting!

Poles are first placed flat on the ground, then raised on one side (alternating – raise the left side of the pole, the right side of the next pole, etc.).

Cabeletti are poles raised off the ground by 6-8 inches. They are arranged similarly to the ground poles described above. The biggest benefit to Cavaletti is the ability to ride “grids” which is a “closed chain” activity as described in an early post. I know from personal experience that to ride a grid in balance and rhythm is HARD.

I should also mention here that all Bromiley’s long line work is done in side reins. She stresses that side reins are NOT to be adjusted to set the horse’s head, but should be set to the natural set of the head.

Putting it all together
She stresses variety in the arena – one example of a arena set up with a circuit has ground poles, a little cross bar jump, and a set of ground poles raised on one side only, set up around the arena. Doing the circuit, plus integrating the “Classical” riding exercises is what she recommends for arena work.

Next: Classical riding exercises

1 comment:

  1. If you are interested in ground poles, search amazon for books on jumping training- there are TONS of books out there on trot poles, cavaletti, etc.

    Also, I am curious about how you split your blog posts so that only a few sentences shows up in google reader and one must open your full blog to read the rest?


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