This basic course includes the tracks (patterns and figures used in training the horse in a schooling area) straight ahead and diagonals that are two of the most basic fundamental tracks. Using tracks on a basic level allows the rider to devote most of the attention to riding with good rhythm and track. Understanding these fundamentals sets up a rider for a better chance of success when more difficult tasks arise. This tactic of pursuing excellence in the basics supports optimal learning for both horse and rider.
Purpose: To teach and test the understanding of suitable canter rhythm while maintaining a good track.
A basic level exercise that can be set in most arenas. Common distance between canter poles is 3.00 to 3.25 meters (9.8 to 10.6 feet). The distance can be adjusted to accommodate different types of horses and stride lengths, but also to change the level of difficulty.
Note: By using the tracks illustrated here, the course can be started anywhere with the additional option of reversing the direction that the poles are ridden.
Basic Rhythm and Track Course Incorporating Circles
This basic course includes the tracks straight ahead, diagonals, and circles—all three of which are basic tracks. Keeping the variation of tracks minimal allows the rider to focus on essential skills such as a good rhythm and a track ridden with a relaxed and balanced horse.
Purpose: To maintain good canter rhythm and track while riding straight ahead, circles, and diagonals.
An exercise that can be set in most arenas, with more poles added to the canter poles in a larger arena and singles poles used in a smaller arena. Common distances used between canter poles are 3.00 to 3.25 meters (9.8 to 10.6 feet), which can be adjusted to accommodate different types of horses and stride lengths, but also to change the level of difficulty of the course.
Note: By using the tracks illustrated here, there are several options where the course can be started with the additional option of reversing the direction that the poles are ridden, as well. By reversing the course, the approaches change from longer to slightly shorter on the straight lines.
Longer Basic Rhythm and Track Course
This basic course includes some variation and modification of the basic tracks used in the arena. The slightly longer length of course and the fact that the track is not mirrored from left to right is an additional challenge for the rider. Maintaining a relaxed and balanced horse ridden in good rhythm on a good track are fundamentals that will remain important regardless of the level of horse and rider, from most basic to most advanced.
Purpose: To maintain good rhythm and track while riding a variation of the basic tracks.
An exercise that can be set in many different sizes of arenas; however, if the course is set in a narrower arena, caution must be taken that the turns do not get too small in diameter, as this creates a very different level of difficulty than intended. The rider and trainer have many options in adding length to the course through the use of the poles in two directions, as done here with pole numbers 1 and 7.
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