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Barbara Ellin Fox TheRidingInstructor
  • Love it! I also use two cavaletti spaced far apart in the arena or the field. I ask the student to count the strides or steps (depending on how well they understand walk or trot stride as set of 4 or 2 steps) and challenge them to see how many little-tiny-steps they can cram in between or how many long-forward-steps they can make to minimize the number.

    Everyone gets a feel for rating the speed without breaking to the slower or faster gait, and they also gain a bit of an intuitive feel for collecting and lengthening (though we don’t worry about maintaining rhythm or impulsion, just staying in the gait however slow or fast it gets. You can see the lengthening lighbulb go off when they realize that rushing through the exercise does NOT necessarily get them fewer steps!

    The really creative riders sometimes find out themselves that bending the line can help them game the system, which turns into a good intro to talking about courses, lines, not crossing your own path in approaching an element, etc.

    • Erica- I love this! It’s very creative and a super way to develop feel. And I love the comment about bending lines because it’s so helpful for adjusting distance. Maybe creative instruction develops creative riders. Barbara

    • Hi Katy, Being creative at walk can sure be a challenge but it’s so important for students to learn that walk is a valuable gait. That said, there are times it can be like watching paint dry! Thanks for your comment. Barbara

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