Lesson Plan–Adjusting the Canter Stride

Posted on Nov 6, 2014

Lesson Plan- Adjusting the Canter Stride (January 2014)

Alita (Bunny) Hendricks

USPC National Examiner

Sunshine Region RIC 2014

Level: Variable D2-A (Ground rails)

Class Size: Variable ***Safety Check to be done prior to riders entering arena for lesson.***

Time: 30 – 60 min. depending on size and/or level of class and number of exercises selected.

Equipment: 2-5 pairs of standards, 2-5 ground rails

Equipment Set Up: In an enclosed arena, set up 2 ground rails with standards on a long side of arena 72 ft. apart. This is line A-B. From fence A, set fence C at an angle 48 ft from the center of fence A to the center of fence C to form a bending line. This is line A-C. On the opposite long side of arena, set up 2 ground rails with standards 60 ft apart. This is line D-E. Keep in mind that each line may be ridden in either direction. These distances are standard 3, 4, and 5 strides for fences 3 ft or higher. They will ride with more strides with ground rails. Do not mention how many strides riders will get.

Objective: Riders will be able to regulate (shorten and eventually lengthen) mount’s stride while establishing and maintaining rhythm, relaxation, and balance. (For C3 and up add connection, impulsion, and straightness of the training pyramid to the objective.)

Introductions: Briefly introduce yourself. Ask riders to introduce themselves and to include the following information: Name, Age, USPC Certification Level, Mount’s Name and Age, How long they have been a “team”, What kind of work and at what level they have been doing, On the average, how many days a week do they ride on a regular basis, Have either Mount or Rider had any illnesses or injuries recently, (i.e. just getting over the flu, or horse had colic surgery 9 months ago). These questions give an idea as to the experience and fitness levels of both mount and rider to do the work of the lesson at hand and instructor can adjust or individualize the plan accordingly. (5 min.)

Restate the Objective of the lesson and add, “Today we will learn how to change the length of our mounts’ canter stride to add a stride in a line in rhythm and with relaxation and balance. We will need to use a strong and effective lower leg, a light seat, a light contact and counting to help get the desired number of canter strides and to maintain rhythm and relaxation through regulating our breathing. We will not use hands to regulate the stride.”

 

Warm Up: Walk, Trot, and if appropriate, Canter, asking for work and transitions to be done in half-seat. (Note these lines can be trotted in posting trot, in two point position, and sitting trot for D1 level riders.) Progress to the exercise set:

Practice: Take care to make specific individual praises and corrections as to rider position and effective use of aids to create a regular and rhythmic canter/gait. These may include reminders to keep lower leg feeding the horse energy, keep shoulders up tall and over the riders’ leg, carry the hands to keep a light and soft contact with the horse’s mouth, count for consistency of rhythm and to breathe, and so on…

  1. Have riders canter the rails in line A-B with a natural canter stride for their mount and tell you how many canter strides their mount is getting between each. Repeat twice so that a regular rhythm and length and number of strides are established. (Some mounts may canter it in 6 strides, some in 7 strides, etc.)
  2. Ask riders to ride line D-E and count the number of canter strides, repeat twice.
  3. Ask riders to ride line A-C (bending line) and count the number of canter strides, repeat twice.
  4. Ask riders to ride line A-B again, but this time, ask for one additional canter stride between the rails. Ask riders to describe what their aids were or what their body did to ask mount to add one canter stride. Repeat once or twice.
  5. Ask riders to ride line D-E again, but this time, ask for one additional canter stride between the rails. Again, ask riders to describe what their aids were or what their body did to ask mount to add one canter stride, repeating once or twice, then to line A-C in the same way, repeating once or twice.

Reteaching:

Provisions for reteaching are built in to each repetition of the exercise and in building the next layer of the exercise.

Summary: “Today we learned how to change the length of our mounts’ canter stride to add a stride in a line in rhythm and with relaxation and balance. We used a strong and effective lower leg, a light seat, a light contact and counting to help get the desired number of canter strides and to maintain rhythm and relaxation through regulating our breathing. We did not use hands to regulate the stride.”  Ask each rider for a “gold nugget”, or one thing from the lesson that was new or helpful to them or their mount.

Homework: Particular to each rider, based on what their “gold nugget” was.