Tuesday, February 6, 2018

1/27/2018 - Adult Camp Cavaletti Lesson

After my first lesson, I went to lunch, which had two special speakers. One was a PEMF (Pulsed electromagnetic therapy) company, and the other was for Tribute Feeds. I can't say I heard much from either company, they started talking before I got there, but the PEMF company was offering discounted treatments for riders who were in the Adult Camp.

From a PEMF website:
"PEMF therapy "exercises" the cells with a pulsing magnetic field, bringing them back into electrical balance while increasing nutrient circulation and oxygen flow. When cells are properly charged and functioning, soreness is reduced, inflammation is decreased, range of motion is increased, stress is reduced, and the body's restoring abilities are accelerated allowing the horse to perform at its personal best."
I like to test all kinds of treatments. Penn works hard, he's built downhill, and while dressage is easier for him than it was for Mikey, it's still hard. I am willing to give him any chance to train better and feel better.

The people from PEMF didn't recommend using it before a ride on a horse that tends to be lazy since the treatment can make horses VERY relaxed and even lazier. I wasn't worried about that, Penn has an excellent motor. They didn't have any more spots for after our cavaletti lesson (and there wasn't enough time Sunday morning), but they did have a spot to do it immediately, then Penn would have an hour before our Saturday afternoon lesson. I opted to have that done, and so I missed most of the Tribute Feed talk (I don't have control over what kind of grain Penn gets anyway, unless I want to buy it myself which I don't).

Penn LOVED his treatment. He was a hair suspicious about it since it was a big coil of plastic, but one "hit" of it and he was totally on board. He was exceedingly relaxed and the crossties were holding him up. At one point he started swaying and his front legs buckled a little. I'm pretty sure Penn was their best reaction of the weekend. Every other horse who was treated at least stayed awake, if not skeptical (J's horse, his skeptical face is hilarious).

They had a chair that both J and I sat in, and all we can figure it that it finds tension in the muscle and works on just that. We couldn't feel it in places that didn't already hurt.

Sleepy time while feeling good.

On to our cavaletti lesson with LH!

LH holds cavaletti Sunday every week, and I've always wanted to take a lesson, but it just hasn't panned out. If I make the 5 hour drive to GP Trainer, I want to take two lessons with her, not one and a cavaletti lesson.

Tried to get a pic of all his matching navy LeMeiux stuff.
I failed. You can't even tell the polos are navy.

We showed the horses the poles (Penn snorted and arched his neck over the blue poles down centerline), before moving on to tackling one section of poles at a time. It was kind of like a group jumping lesson, tackle all the bits and pieces, then put it all together in a course. The below pic has the poles numbered with directional arrows, but that's just for the final course. As we practiced each section, we ran through it on both the right and left rein.

The "Course"
Colors may not be accurate to real poles, lol

We started with the easiest, the two purple poles on a circle, with two trot steps in between. Penn likes to trot the poles then hurry off- LH was adamant that Penn stay straight and not hurry while lifting his forearms UP, and that I stay very upright and really hold him to a slower tempo while still sitting with my core. The idea being that he takes slower, loftier steps over the poles.

This entire lesson was very helpful for my ineffective posting trot. I have trouble keeping him up and not rushing in posting trot and this was an excellent lesson in posting, but keeping my core engaged. I noticed it carried over to being more effective in my warm up at home.

We moved on to the blue poles on centerline- two sets of two trot poles with two steps in between. I had to work a lot harder to keep him straight and sitting. Not too difficult though.

Next was the red fan, and I struggled with it. It really highlighted how I let him sneak out the outside shoulder ALL THE TIME. The first time through, I let Penn go with his tendency to get forward and running and taking bigger steps.

Weee, shoulders falling out the outside!

LH had me aim a bit more to the outside of the middle of the first pole, and then keep bringing his shoulders around. That worked a lot better for me

Better, no falling out!

For the final piece, we did the orange set of 6 trot poles. This was a big test of my ability to keep Penn straight. If he wavered at all, I'd lose any sit I managed to gain.

The final course: The orange 6 poles tracking right, the red fan tracking right then turn left and go over the green fan tracking left, the two purple poles tracking left then turn right, go up centerline over the blue poles, then turn right and go back to orange 6.

I was SO EXCITED to be part of a "group jump lesson" again! I have to say, remembering the course was initially a bit daunting because I'm wayyyyy out of practice. LH made an interesting comment that I think also pertains to jumping: Going through poles in a group gives less confident horses confidence.

We wanted to take the horses for a short walk after our lesson, so we invited the girl who shared our cavaletti lesson to come with us. We stuck B between Penn and the third rider, but he still got a bit fussy. I told J to run him up Penn's butt if he got moving. B did try to pass Penn on one side, so I cut him off by turning Penn that direction and putting Penn physically in the way. It worked, haha. We've gotta get J and B out on the trails! Overall, we had a nice walk though.

As for the PEMF? I think Penn really enjoyed getting his treatment, and it made him happy. He was very relaxed before, during and after our cavaletti lesson. He was a bit on the forehand for lesson, which goes back to, one, he already worked that day, and two, the treatment could make him lazy. He felt good the next day, and I'm sure it helped him deal with 3 rides in 24 hours (sorry bud). I do think the Pulse Treatments he gets at home are longer lasting and overall more effective though.

J and I finally dragged ourselves back to our hotel and got dinner before passing out by 10. It was a long day!!

Next up, our final lesson and the drive home!


  1. I really want to do a cavaletti lesson one of these days. I had something like the orange line set up last night (six trot poles in a row) and was shocked at how bouncy and light Charlie felt through them! Such a good feeling....

    Glad you had a good ride and esp enjoyed the group lesson format! It's fun to switch it up sometimes

    1. I miss the camaraderie of group jump lessons, so this was really fun. I used to set up 6-8 poles on a regular basis, it was really good for Penn.

  2. The clinician who does nothing but cavaletti clinics (I initially saw her on FB, I think it's called fun with poles or something) is going to be a few hours away from me next month and I'm super tempted to do! This sounds like a really intense but fun weekend 🙂

    1. She does regular lessons as well, but she's the only one who teaches the cavaletti clinics. I actually rode with her for my last lesson of the weekend. Give her a try! She's a lot of fun.

    2. My comment came out a little garbled (probably pre-coffee haha) -- I think I'm talking about a totally different instructor. Just was funny to me to be considering the clinic and then read your post about your ground pole lesson!

    3. Lol! It's still a lot of fun to do!

    4. Oh definitely. Your post swayed me in the direction of signing up, just gotta figure out if I can make the distance work 😉

  3. OOoh man I really want to do some cavalettis now! Penn looks fantastic, and can I get a hell yeah for letting your horse's shoulders fall out? Because I'd like to join the club if it's still open. ;)

    1. Hahaha, I'm not sure you want to join! You totally should do some cavalettis!

  4. Oh I want to do a cavaletti lesson!

  5. Courage LOVED his PEMF treatments--we had to use them to get him relaxed enough to allow other adjustments.

    I definitely jumped at the chance to have it done to myself when I was in PT and while it feels awesome, the PT says it has no effect other than immediate relaxation.

    Seriously feels good tho.

    1. Ohhh, I forgot C got them too. Definitely feels good, but yea, I wasn't sure it did anything except make him super super relaxed.

  6. Hampton responds to PEMF better than any other treatment (massage, chiro) for whatever reason. After 3 or 4 days after a treatment he feels AMAZING, but admittedly the day after treatment he is often sluggish and flat. I have it done on me each session after Hampton, too! lol!

  7. I may need to borrow that exercise for me own cavelletti sunday lol

  8. This. Looks. SO. Fun! Gah, I hope I can get over there in March! Working 6 days a week right now AND having our first real-ish winter in 7 years has made a lot of things more difficult than I'd thought for riding this season!