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Video: Horse Work On The Keys
The keys are poles 1.5-2.5 m long and 10-12 cm in diameter, with wooden crosspieces at the ends.The top edge of the pole is 15-20 cm above the ground. The wooden planks that make up the crosspiece are not attached at right angles. Their ends should be beveled so that in any position the cross is firmly on the ground or on another similar cross. The handrail is fastened to the crosspieces very firmly. Keys arranged in this way, or, as they are also called, cavalletti, can be used for special exercises and for training show jumping horses. They can be installed at three heights (20, 40 and 50-60 cm). Each equestrian section must have 6 to 10 of these keys. For horses undergoing dressage training, the keys should be no longer than 1.5 m. The smaller width helps to keep the horse straight. The keys should not be one-color, they should be painted like obstacle poles.
Key exercises are used both for training beginner riders on older horses and for training young horses. The rider's hip, knee and ankle joints should flexibly follow the horse's movements and the arms should move forward in accordance with the horse's neck movements.
In order not to damage the horse's mouth and back, the rider must squeeze the knees more tightly, flex the lower back and the upper body to follow the movement easily (easier landing). Gradually he begins to feel the flexible back of the horse and develop the ability to control his position. The markedly varying position of the horse's center of mass will help determine if the rider is following his horse's movements. Likewise, he will be able to control the position of his leg, since an absolutely tight knee must ensure that the leg is in constant position on the horse's body, even with uneven movement.
Key work is done at a walk, trot and gallop. In order for horses to traverse keys in a fluid motion, the distance between the individual keys must match the length of the stride or swing. For older horses, when moving at a pace, a distance of 0.8 m is convenient, at a trot - 1.2-1.4 m, and at a gallop - 2.5-3.5 m, 7-7.5 or 11 m.
When accustoming a horse, the exercises are first performed with a step, with a given rein. When all horses begin to calmly step over the keys, you can repeat the exercise at a working trot, having previously changed the distance between the keys. This makes it easier for riders, beginners should hold on to the strap around the horse's neck with their free hand.
The practice trot is switched over when riders are free of tension and are able to flexibly follow the movements of a freely moving horse. If at first the horses' heads are fixed, the decoupling should allow the horse to stretch the neck sufficiently forward and to the sides.
Recommendations for daily activities
At the beginning of the session, during the warm-up ride, drive apart the keys on the middle line of the arena 2-3 times. At first, they are put no more than two, later (after 8-10 weeks) - up to four.
At the end of the lesson, they ride one by one or in shifts through variously set keys (see fig.).
Comm. to figure:
Arrangement by keys:
1 - a) with lateral limitation by poles; b) with lateral limitation by poles and slopes; c) on the track line with a lateral limit and a slope on the inside.
2 - a) for work at a trot on a cord (the distance between the inner ends is 1.2 m, the outer ends - 1.5); a1) the path of the cord, leading the horse at a trot;
b) to work with a step (the distance between the inner ends is 0.8 m, the outer ends - 1.1 m): b1) the cord path (the junction must be unfastened!).
3 - a) on the track line, b) on the arena diagonal.
4 - a) next to the track line, b) on the middle line.
5 - for stride and trot close to the track line.
6 - for stride and trot close to the midline.
7 - a) for trot with an intermediate step after the 4th key, b) for a step.
8 - for a gallop: a) distance 3.5 m, height 0.5 m, b) with an intermediate swing (distance to the 4th key is 7 m).
9 - on circles: you can change the direction each time by driving in circles or, after passing the keys, switch to movement along the wall of the arena.
10 - on the track line along the wall of the arena and on circle
11 - on the middle line serpentine along the entire arena (5 boucle).
12 - on the middle line, change of direction along the serpentine through the entire arena (4 boucle).
Sources: chapters from the book "Equestrian sport", ed. E. Eze (translated from German), M., Physical culture and sport, 1983