Madden Exercise #1

The simplest and hardest exercise I think we did all winter.

Just two poles set 27 ft. apart.

Should ride a normal 2 strides. The goal will be to do 1,2, and 3 strides in between.

Things to remember

-Always release over the pole. This is for two reasons; to give them the freedom to make a nice effort over the pole and trust in your following hand. Second, is to ensure they aren’t changing the rhythm when you release. This will become especially apparent when doing three strides.

-When you are setting up for the three strides in your canter on the way there you should be testing your release to make sure that your horse doesn’t’ speed up or fall out when you let go. They should be carrying their own balance. Make no mistake the three strides is very short.

- When you get to doing one stride this will be a slight reach, but the harder task will be when you want to continue back and do three strides.

This exercise was good for me for many reasons, not just working my eye and recognizing my length of stride but more importantly that I was able to get his blood up and then settle it back down and bring it back up again. Working my eye on different gallops also made me realize that length of stride isn’t the whole question being asked. Even on the shortest canter he must be in front of my leg allowing me to have the lightness required in my hand.

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