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If there is anyone that can talk about hot horses on a hack, it is me.  My horse Shandy was a complete nightmare on hacks.  He would attem...

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Pole Work For Your Horse - My Favourites!

This is something I have wanted to do for a long time!  Pole work for me and my horses is a very important step for training.  This along with grid work are my two favourite things to train my horses and myself with!  So let's jump straight into it!

The first one I am going to share with you is probably the most common but that is for a very good reason!  Being able to shorten or lengthen your horses strides is the basics for pretty much every genre of horse riding.

I prefer to do this with a pole leading to a jump instead of two poles as my horse tends to rush towards jumps more than poles so I work on that!


The second one I am going to show you is to stop horses locking on to the first jump they see.  This happens with a lot of horses and there is an easy fix.

By putting two poles (or jumps in my case) like you see in the picture it will help the horse to wait until you point him towards a jump.


Next is a pole followed by one bounce then one stride to a oxer.  I like this one as the bounce really gets the horses to back off enough to set them up correctly for the oxer.  You can trot up to this grid, canter as you hit the first pole and keep the canter for the grid.


This is one of the coolest pole work ideas.  Basically, the poles on the right are lifted at one side and a spaced to create collection.  The poles on the left are not lifted (but can be) and are spaced to allow the horses to lengthen their stride.

What I do with this pole work is set it up in a course of jumps.  I then work my horse with the jumps and if they get too forward then I put them through the right side.  If they are lacking speed or need to lengthening strides for a longer distances then I take them down the left side.


This one is very quick and easy for young or clumsy horses.  I will take my horse towards the jump at walk with a long rein so they can put their head down to focus on not touching the poles.  As the take the first step over a pole give them a little squeeze with your legs to encourage them to pick their feet up.


Another grid!  This is a very basic one but I like it as the oxer is before the upright.  This means the horse has to learn that he has to collect himself after the oxer to make the upright.

Set up a ground pole, followed by a upright one horse stride away.  Then you will put your oxer up one horse stride away again.  Lastly, two horse strides past the oxer you will set up a tall upright.


This one looks a bit crazy!  It is basically a step up from number 4.  I like this one as you can take the horse in any direction and it will get your horse used to seeing a busy school.  I use this again to teach my horse not to lock on to the first pole he sees.

The last one I am going to show you is this diagonal and straight poles.  This is another exercise to teach the horse to pick their feet up.  Start with walk until your horse has mastered it then you can practice in trot.  Then raise the poles to make it more difficult.


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