Alfredo Hernandez Clinic. Part II
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Monday, April 2, 2018 08:18 PM
Exercises Mr. Hernandez did with riders working on canter pirouettes. Some of the exercises were very original and presented a challenge for the riders. However, the results were amazing and horses showed noticeable improvement in their engagement and ability to turn.
Warm up for pirouette work Canter 20 m circle. When canter feels balanced, rhythmical, straight and round start asking for three half pass steps and then immediately 3 leg-yield steps, no straight steps in between. The purpose is to make horse sharp, quick in his responses and able to change from one movement to another smoothly without loss of balance. Prepares a horse to start pirouette and come out of pirouette without doing actual pirouette. Observe if one direction the horse finds it easier to come in then to come out and vise versa. This information is important in developing suppleness and straightness.
Medium canter out of pirouette Riding pirouette from a 20 m circle. If the horse starts to stop in pirouette ride out in medium canter. Sneak a pirouette anywhere on the 20 m circle line. Vary number of steps and ride out with the feel of medium canter. Helps in training pushing power out of extreme collection.
Half-pass to turn on the forehand to pirouette Start canter half-pass, in the center of the ring proceed with turn on the forehand - same bend, same lead. Then immediately into pirouette. For example - half-pass left, turn on the forehand to the left (haunches are going left), pirouette to the left. This exercise supples and collects the horse at the same time, requires quick responses, agility and balance control. It will really challenge a horse's ability to sit into inside hind leg.
Walk-Canter Walk pirouette - leg-yield out - walk pirouette - canter pirouette. Also, start walk pirouette -canter - walk - canter -walk staying in a pirouette. Teaches a horse a concept of turning shoulders in canter pirouette, especially, if the horse has a tendency to go sideways. Teaches a rider the geometry of the pirouette. A horse may find it difficult to start canter in one direction. That side requires more work.
Note of caution!Remember that the above exercises are for more advanced horses. However, with a bit of imagination you can adapt them to a lower level horse. For example, the warm up exercise can be a spiral in and out instead of a half-pass/leg-yield.
Lower the level of difficulty if your horse finds it difficult and starts losing rhythm and/or requires a lot of aids. In time the horse will become stronger and will be able to do the work asked of him. Mix lots of forward canter in between pirouette work to refresh the horse and keep it fun for him.
Happy riding...
 
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