October Monthly Exercise – The Figure of 8

Its time again for our monthly exercise and this is one we were really looking forward to trying. When the day finally came where we had the arena to ourselves the horses were feeling less than cooperative. It was a dark evening and both horses were grumpy and just not in the mood to listen so it made for an interesting time (and some videos). But we persevered and got through in the end!

What is this Exercise good for?

  • Setting a pace
  • Creating Suppleness
  • Maintaining balance

How to Set it Up

This exercise uses two oxers, a cavaletti and 5 uneven raised canter poles. Depending on the size of your arena you may, like us, decide to just use 3 raised canter poles. We set ours up with 3 and a half steps between each. 

How to Ride it

  1. Pick up a canter, making sure you maintain a nice steady rhythm and start your 20m circle at X. 
  2. Ride from X to your raised canter poles. These are placed on a bend so make sure to look for your horse to bend through their body and up through their neck. As you finish the poles look for your turn to the oxer.
  3. Ride straight to your oxer and make sure to keep balanced as you land so you can be ready for the turn to the cavaletti.
  4. The cavaletti should be ridden as if its sitting on a circle so don’t ride it straight. Your horse should show some bend over this. 
  5. Finish your figure of 8 over the final oxer which sits just a few strides off the fence of the arena. This one comes up quite quickly so you need to make sure you use the full figure of 8 to make the most of the space you have to really prepare your approach to this fence.

What’s great about this exercise is that it isn’t very complicated, but it still gives you and your horse a lot to think about as you ride it. Each of the varying elements in the exercise offer their own challenge so different horses will find different aspects difficult. The main thing is to just take your time and if needs be take on one part at a time until you feel confident enough to put it all together. God knows we struggled on certain parts!

Hope you guys enjoy giving this one a go! Be sure to tag us in any videos so we can see how you got on with it!

Thanks for reading,

Orla & Darielle

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