Fabulous & Fit: VERMONT Book Launch Party and clinic

Come enjoy our book launch party/clinic! Participants will receive a signed copy of Jec’s NEW book, enter to win cool door prizes, and receive an assessment of their horse’s current postural strengths/weaknesses. Riders will also be coached as a group through exercises from the new book, plus receive some take-home tips for how to help their horses.

3pm: Arrive and pick up books, door prizes

3:15 One-on-one sessions to assess individual horses’ posture and movement

4:00 Practice exercises from Jec’s new book together as a group

6pm: Pot-Luck dinner, location TBA

 

horse physical therapy

Jec Ballou equine fitness specialist new book

Book signing at Strafford Saddlery

 

Join us at Strafford Saddlery for a book signing and author meet-up at Strafford Saddlery just down the road from Jec’s publisher in Strafford, Vermont!

 

Fabulous and Fit: Book Launch Event

horse physical therapy

Come enjoy our book launch party! Participants will receive a signed copy of Jec’s NEW book, coffee and cookies, a tour of the Lichen Oaks adaptive riding center, and enter to win cool door prizes. In her demo and mini clinic, Jec will show how to assess a horse’s current postural strengths/weaknesses. Handlers and riders at this event will use resident horses rather than their own.

10am: Arrive and pick up books, door prizes

10:30 demo and short talk by Jec

11am-1pm: One-on-one sessions with rider/handlers and horses. *when participants sign up, they will be matched with a horse.

Fabulous and Fit: tools for your horse wellness, posture, and performance

Please note THERE HAS BEEN AN UNAVOIDABLE TIME CHANGE for this event! It will still be on the SAME DAY, but at a EARLIER NEW TIME.

Come enjoy our book launch party! Participants will receive a signed copy of Jec’s NEW book, enter to win cool door prizes, and receive an assessment of their horse’s current postural strengths/weaknesses. Riders will also be coached as a group through exercises from the new book, plus receive some take-home tips for how to help their horses.

NEW TIME 12 NOON  – (OLD TIME 2pm): Arrive and pick up books, door prizes

NEW TIME 12:15  –  (OLD TIME 2:15): One-on-one sessions to assess individual horses’ posture and movement

NEW TIME 1:30  –  (OLD TIME 3:30): Practice exercises from Jec’s new book together as a group

jec ballou

How to Place Ground Poles for Gaited Horses

It’s no secret that I rely a lot on cavalletti routines in clinics and training. Riders of gaited horses, though, occasionally feel left out since much of the information about how to arrange ground pole exercises is based on the average distance of trot strides. I myself have been guilty of writing articles that refer only to how to set up poles for walk, trot, and canter. Riders of non-trotting horses are left with the impression that cavalletti routines are not for them. To the contrary, gaited horses benefit enormously from the spinal stabilizing effects of these exercises.

As gaited breeds gain popularity among adult amateur riders, I have noted the paucity of information available to them about modifying our most useful exercises to meet their particular needs. To this end, I wanted to share some quick advice on setting up ground poles in a helpful way for gaited breeds. This is just one exercise among dozens of possibilities, but it’s a simple and quick one. And the benefit for clinicians is that the distance between poles in this example can work for both trotting and non-trotting breeds, allowing a group of riders to work together without anyone feeling left out.

Any ground pole exercise for gaited horses has the goal of improving or clarifying the rhythm of their particular gait. We never wish to arrange poles just for the sake of challenging their coordination or seeing how high they might lift their limbs. Instead, we want to use exercises that confirm the power and steadiness of their unique footfall patterns that often become disrupted or irregular when a gaited horse does not use his body correctly. Never practice cavalletti exercises that interrupt the smoothness of their stride or cause them to struggle to maintaing gait. Bear this in mind as you scan articles and books for routines that are relevant to your Icelandic, Missouri Foxtrotter, Tennessee Walker, and others.

Meantime, you can use the following arrangement regularly in your training to help gaited breeds flex their hind limbs and find stability through their trunk.

Simple Ground Pole Set-up for Gaited Breeds

  1. Set four or five ground poles parallel to each other in a line (so that you can ride straight across them). Space the poles at a distance of 8 feet* apart.
  2. Now develop your working gait (Tolt, Foxtrot, Running Walk, etc.)
  3. Ride straight across the poles.
  4. You should count TWO steps from your horse between each pole. For instance, each front foot should take a step in the space between the poles before crossing over the next pole.
  5. Your rhythm should feel like this: CROSS the pole, One-Two, CROSS the pole, One-Two, CROSS the pole, and so on… Feel for those beats and aim to keep them consistent each time you ride over the poles.
  6. Repeat the pattern at least 12 times.

**this is an average spacing for a horse about 15.2 hands tall. If you ride a horse with a shorter stride, you will modify the spacing suggestion by 2-3 inches.