Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 09:00 AM
If you read the previous blog you know judges were not happy with our lengthenings. The best score I got was 6 with comments like hurried, needs to cover more ground, quickening, etc
My husband has been a big help at the shows, especially, with photographs. He made at least a thousand of them. It is an incredible visual documentary for me to go through and check my seat, my horse's balance, frame, bend, etc. Now Andrey is helping me at home with developing Santo's lengthening/medium trot. Andrey knows that cavalletty is a good way to help a horse lengthen the stride and push off the hind end. So he came up with an exercise for us.
First thing he did is watched Olympic Grand Prix tests I taped last summer. He calculated how many steps on average a horse makes across diagonal in extended trot and how much time it takes, again on average. Knowing exact distance for competition ring diagonal and adjusting it to our arena which is smaller he came up with an number that Santo must make 20 trot steps across diagonal. Also, these steps must be 6 feet in length.
- We set up about 6 cavalletty with 6 feet distance between them on a long side of our ring.
- The idea is after trotting over cavalletty I try to preserve the big trot I got, round my corners and ride the next diagonal asking Santo for even bigger trot.
- Next, I slow down and steadily trot around now going other way until I go over cavalletty again and the exercise repeats: cavalletty, big trot, diagonal with even bigger trot, back to steady trot.
- We ride continuously 10 cavalletty/diagonal combinations.
- We have a free walk break for about 5 minutes and then repeat the whole exercise.
- The exercise is done twice a week at the end of 30 minute ride. Nothing else strenuous is done during the week.
For the first week we did the exercise only once. Santo needed time to get used to it and understand the job. It has been 3 weeks since we started the exercise. Now he knows what to do and he sets himself up for the poles and holds the big trot for a few strides on his own. He does loses the length of stride a bit through the short side but builds up on a diagonal again. He finishes diagonals with big beautiful strides that feel so slow it is hard to post.
I let my blog sit for a few days for editing. By now we did the exercise two more times. The last one was amazing. Not only Santo pushed off into a big trot a few strides before cavalletty, he also did the best diagonals to date - big slow trot with good transitions in the beginning and at the end. It felt amazing. We are going to continue the exercise for another 3 weeks and then change the pattern to ride mostly diagonals and going over cavalletty only if Santo is not putting enough effort into his extensions. Also, so far I rode the exercise in rising trot. From now on I am going to do some diagonals rising, others sitting.