Natural Horsemanship Training with Cavaletti

Natural horse trainers look for creative ways to use their environment to help train their horses. Cavaletti, also called ground poles, are unsung heroes in creating a bridge between horse training equipment and the horse’s environment.

Cavaletti, the Italian word meaning “little horses,” are traditionally poles stabilized by X-shaped supports at each end. The word has come to refer to any raised or unsupported ground poles used in horse training.Cavaletti are placed a particular distance apart to regulate and shape the horse’s stride. For the average horse, standard distances are:

* Trotting: 4-5 feet apart

* Walking or cantering: 9-10 feet apart

Adjust the standard distances for your horse’s individual stride. Begin with just one pole when training the horse. Gradually add additional rails, consistently and correctly placed. Eventually your horse will be comfortable maintaining his rhythm and impulsion through a series of 6-8 rails.

Training your horse over cavaletti brings a barnfull of benefits. Correct use of Cavaletti will:

* Strengthen the horse’s topline

* Build agility, strength and endurance

* Increase regularity of rhythm

* Develop suspension in the gaits

* Prepare a horse for jumping

* Add refreshing variety to a training session

Once your horse is confident through a series of poles comfortably placed, you can enhance his natural gaits by modifying the excercise. Shorten the distance between the rails to collect the horses stride. Increase the distance to lengthen the horse’s stride. To train a horse to increase the suspension and elevate his steps in all his gaits, raise the ground poles on safe, secure supports.

Each time a horse steps correctly over cavaletti, he steps closer to acheiving his full athletic potential.  Move to the next step in your cavaletti training GRADUALLY and backtrack a step if the horse gets confused or frightened.

Safety Tip: Because Cavaletti influence the horse’s strides, they increase the chance of the horse interfering with himself. Considering outfitting your horse with sturdy, well-fitting leg protection to minimize the chance of injury.

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