With horses naturally favouring one side over the other, the idea of straightness can be a tricky training foundation to instil. However, with time, consistency and some creative schooling shapes, you’ll soon find your horse levelling out. While it might feel counterproductive to address the problem with a circle-based exercise, we’re talking nose-to-tail connection as much as we are linear straightness. Here’s how it works.
About the exercise
If you’re after an exercise that’ll highlight any straightness-related issues you’re having with your horse, as well as helping you regain control of his shoulders and quarters, look no further.
Although the exercise is designed to be ridden in trot and canter, make sure you’ve ridden through it in walk first to show your horse what to expect. The difficulty increases as you work upward through his paces.
Set it up
For this exercise, the set-up is simple. You’ll need 12 poles, laid out at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions of two 15m circles at either end of your arena, just off the track. Then, connect the two circles with two sets of tramlines just off the track in line with E and B.
If your horse tends to fall in or out as he turns, the tramlines will help you correct his shoulder and restore his balance before attempting the next circle.
For this polework exercise in full get your copy of September Horse&Rider, on sale 23 July 2020.