The Magazine November 2018

Pole-play

Posted 10th September 2019

Looking for a polework exercise to really get your horse thinking? Check out this exciting layout – its benefits definitely outweigh the set-up time

polework

A super-sociable exercise that offers something for everyone, a demanding set-up that keeps your horse focused, or even a bit of fun to shake up a stale schooling regime – whatever you’re after, this versatile polework exercise has you covered. So, if you want an all-purpose plan that ticks all the right boxes, this is the one for you. Let’s take a look at how to do it.

Set it up

You’ll need plenty of time and man-power to set this one up but, we assure you, the benefits are numerous! You’ll need…

  • 20 3m trot poles
  • four 3.5m trot poles
  • four pole pods or blocks

Start building from the centre outwards, with the box over X.

pole work set-up diagram

Top tip

If you don’t have pole pods, keep your eyes peeled for cheap potties. They’re great to prop up poles because their shape means they won’t roll off if your horse gives them a knock.

Through the middle

How to ride it…Take your horse onto a figure-of-eight in trot, using the square box of poles as the centre of your shape.

Mix it up…Add canter into the exercise. If your horse jumps, or has established flying changes, this exercise offers him two opportunities to get the correct change over the poles.

If your horse isn’t confident changing lead over the poles, test his suppleness by adapting the exercise and staying on a circle in canter but changing the rein in trot when you’re ready. By doing it on both reins, you can test that your horse offers the same degree of bend both ways.

Good for…warming up and improving suppleness.

Pick up a copy of November Horse&Rider, on sale 19 September, and have a go at some of these engaging polework exercises.

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