Balance, awareness of feet, and a lengthened topline are qualities that lead to improved movement for any horse, whether a jumper, dressage competitor, or a trail horse.
Of course, there are many factors that contribute to movement, and many exercises we can do or adjustments we can make to improve it.
But there is one simple exercise that is used by riders of all levels, for all types of horses, that might help your horse too – cavaletti.
If you aren’t familiar with cavaletti, they are simply poles on the ground, and can be arranged in various patterns. Cavaletti may be used to develop a lengthened stride, better bending, coordination, balance and strength in the horse.
Cavaletti were said to be invented by Frederico Caprilli, who is also credited with inventing the “forward seat” for jumping, a big improvement on the old jumping style of the rider throwing oneself back on the horse over the jump.
Today, while cavaletti are used by all types of riders, their usefulness and flexibility as an exercise can still be overlooked.
In this video, I will share three cavaletti exercises I use often as well as two books that are good references for cavaletti work.