This rider challenge is suitable for riders able to independently walk and trot. It is also ideal for more experienced riders who wish to fine-tune their aids and improve the straightness of the horse. Avoid or simplify anything that that is too difficult. Be sure to accurately space the poles so they are uniform, safe and appropriate for the horse’s stride. For group lessons, with horses or ponies requiring different pole spacing, set some of the poles at one distance and the rest at another; instructing the riders to ride over only the poles set for their mount. Optionally, some may ride over the poles and others ride around the poles.
SET UP: Use 8 to 12 poles (optional poles are shown as outlines)
Place three sets of double-poles down the center line of the arena. Space each set of poles at the appropriate trot distance for the horses/ponies participating in exercise. Add two poles to the middle set for a total of four poles. Allow enough space between sets to accommodate
the serpentine part of the exercise. Optionally, use four poles for all sets. (See diagram.)
RIDE THE CORRIDOR:
At the walk or trot, come down the centerline (green line), maintaining straightness between the poles. Exit left or right, and repeat. Exit in new direction each time.
Option: Ride various lateral movements, such as "shoulder-in" through the corridor.
ADD THE SERPENTINE:
After exiting the corridor, continue to the serpentine (blue line). Cross each set of poles in the middle. Maintain rhythm, tempo, straightness, and correct bend. Repeat, the exercise, exiting the corridor in a new direction each time.
CENTERED RIDING TIPS:
Pay attention to your building blocks (balance and alignment). Remember to breathe, throughout the movement and strive for consistent a rhythm and tempo. Use clear intent, soft eyes, with a "balanced skull" to plan your ride. Imagine that you can effortlessly "spin" your center during your curves and changes of directions to help maintain proper bend and balance for your horse.
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