Thursday, August 6, 2009


At the beginning of this vid I'm working Moo in giravolta in-hand...not the greatest as he needs to be more 'up' through his shoulder but it gives an idea.

OK this is in answer to Horse of Course's question as to what is giravolta. I've mentioned it a few times on my blog but I can't find a link to anything substantial about it on my blog. Maybe I didn't tag it, so apologies for all you that know but giravolta is basically a moving turn on the forehand. It is great for engaging the horses brain, for stretching and mobilising the rear end and is the perfect 'opposite' to collection and is ideally peppered into training alongside shoulder-in and other lateral work. It sits happily in the toolbox, side by side, with aids to stop a runaway horse (think one rein stops and disengaging the quarters). It is one of my most used exercises both ridden and in-hand. I first heard of it when I was studying to be a trainer and was reading Molly Sivewright's 'Thinking Riding' and it was years before I had first hand experience of using it...I've never looked back :-)
The following is a very basic 'how to' I have copied it from a forum where I was asked to explain the aids for giravolta.
Reading it back I am amused by Belasik's 'one way or another the horse must learn to move away from the aid' well, as he doesn't explain how I'd like to add that one must of course put the horse in such a position as for him to feel complelled to react. I'll explain more another time if anyone is still awake at this point.
This is a quote from Paul Belasik who explains it with the written word much better than I could He talks of having started this exercise with a young unbacked horse after several weeks lunging work but it would work the same for a more established horse and I would use what you are happy lunging in or just a bridle (bitless or otherwise)........**Approach the head and shoulders of the horse. Gathering up the lash of the lunge whip so that it is not flapping about, the trainer strokes the horse's sides, croup and haunches (note from Trudi, this will be good for getting your horse to be less nervous with the whip!!) until the horse stands quietly, comfortable with the touch. Then the trainer will tap, or push with the shaft of the whip (blunt end) , near the horse's barrel where the leg aids will be used (ie near the girth), at the haunches and at the hock to get the horse to take some sideways steps. One should be careful the horse doesn't rush in fear, stand still or (worse) push into the whip in defiance. One way or another the horse must learn to take measured, deliberate and fearless steps away from the pressure of the whip. The movement should circle around the trainer in a kind of turn on the forehand. The inside legs step forward and across the outside legs. The inside rein may have to be tightened to keep the bend to the inside.He goes on to mention the importance of building this up on both reins a little at a time and how psychologically, it calms the horse (demanding submission) and teaches acceptance of the whip. I would also say that to begin with the inside rein is all important and will help you *swing* the quarters in the required direction but as you get better at it introduce the outside rein contact to keep the shoulders lighter and more mobile and THEN you will truly have the best benefit of the giravolta.I hope you enjoy trying this, both Paul Belasik (Dressage for the 21st Century) and Alfons Dietz (Training the horse in Hand) have lovely 'pics and other groundwork exercises in their books and may even be available online secondhand.


Di said...

Thanks for the detailed explanation, I may be able to do it now. I may even read the book!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the explanation and video - I'm much clearer now when you talk about it. Nice to have the book suggestions as well! Thanks!

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks Trudi!
Isn't this nice. Here I am in Norway, watching your video from France, enabling me to add another tool in the toolbox.
With Kate commenting from the US, and Di from France.
How cool is that?
Internet is a wonderful thing.

Luckily my guinea pig is available at home, and ready for new tasks, hehe. Sounds like a good tool warming up.
Thanks again :)

trudi said...

I was thinking the same myself HofC, it's lonely working at home and I do miss some of the aspects of being on a big yard but with access to everyone via the internet it's like one big internet yard (or barn for our friens in the USA)yes, very cool.

Claire said...

thank you very much for that, Trudi, i shall try it as well (and will print this out!).
parcel arrived, thanks, still sorting DVD out, bad me....

Anonymous said...

Trudi, this sounds the ideal exercise for the young pony I've been working with. He's quite established in the turn about the forehand but struggles with shoulder-in. Think we'll have him out on the school tomorrow. Let you know how he copes. I'll have a go with Flight as well, but she 'knows it all'- don't all mares - so will probably just get on and produce the goods.

Sheila (in hot, muggy MK)

trudi said...

glad to see you back Sheila!! Look forward to everyone's giravolta tales. Of course Sheila, CG could do it in his sleep...flexible boy that he is.

Claire, glad it arrived, didn't send the dvd's as we haven't had the chance to watch them yet.