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of these members, no vaulting team can be complete. “A longeur is like an orchestral conductor, monitoring and calculating pulses of energy and flow to create rhythm and harmony,” Carolyn explains. “The longeur is responsible for the horse, his rhythm and response. The vaulters at the top level are performing incredible gymnastic and dance exercises. They rely on the horse to move consistently without changing his circle path or speed. The longeur is the only person the horse should be taking its cues from and visa versa. As a longeur, I rarely actually see the vaulters perform. My eye is constantly on the horse.” Not just any horse can be a vaulting horse. It takes a special animal with some special temperamental and physical characteristics, and a background that involves quality training. “I first look for proper conformation [in a vaulting horse],”


Carolyn continues. “A horse that is structurally sound will stand a better chance at staying physically sound. I place a lot of emphasis on the horse’s work ethics as well. A horse who wants to please is usually much more trainable and has a sound mind.” “A vaulting horse’s ongoing training should be ridden utilizing dressage principles,” she adds. “This will create a horse that is supple, elastic, and accepting of the bit with an engaged, uphill canter.” Although the vaulting horse only performs on a circle


in competitions, all vaulting horses need to be worked and trained under saddle. “It is a myth that the vaulting horse primarily travels on a circle,” says Carolyn, who trains the horses she lunges under saddle and rides them for warm up before competitions. “To do his job well the vaulting horse must be straight, balanced, and rhythmical. In my opinion, ninety percent of a competitive vaulting horse’s training relies on correct basic dressage riding.” Many lower level and some upper level vaulters choose


to perform on draft horses because of their broad backs. But draft crosses and Warmbloods are making their way into the sport as well. “My opinion is that the horse must be able to maintain an uphill canter in self carriage regardless of breed,” Carolyn says. “Warmbloods are bred for their athleticism, suspension and natural uphill canter making them a much better choice.”


MEET PALATINE The horse that carried the U.S. vaulting team to a gold


medal was Palatine, a 12-year-old Westphalian gelding by Pik Labionics. The flashy chestnut is owned by U.S. team member and coach Devon Maitozo and is currently trained by Carolyn. Devon, one of the United States’ most decorated and


experienced vaulters, purchased Palatine in Germany and imported him in 2007. Originally purchased to be an individual vaulting horse, Palatine moved into the role of the team horse when Devon’s other horse had to be euthanized


Warmbloods Today 25


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