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Pole Work

Not only does pole work make flatwork and in-hand work more exciting it can benefit you and your horse more than you think! 

Pole work can be used in the early stages in a horses education when you are training how to lead, long rein and can be incorporated in the under saddle training through the levels. Pole work also has a major role in the rehabilitation of horse strengthening but also aiding in gait reeducation and much more. There are multipole pole formations to work with but it can get overwhelming.

Here on this page are a few handfuls of simple pole formations, from beginner to pro; have fun working through them, but first a bit more on what pole can do!!  

 

What can it do for your horse?

It can improve and aid in:

  • Core strength

  • Balance

  • Top line

  • Suppleness

  • Control

  • Steering

  • Focus

  • Straightness

  • Hind limb protraction

  • Rhythm

  • Stride length

  • Extension and collection

  • Proprioception (awareness of their body and limbs)

  • Agility

  • Rehabilitation

What about the rider?

It can improve and aid in:

  • Core strength

  • Coordination

  • Aids and communication between horse and rider

  • Steering 

  • Precision

  • Balance

  • Seat

  • Encouraging the rider to look forward and not at their hands. 

So Where to Start?

At the start, whether it is the beginning of education or rehabilitation, everything needs to be simple, it's not just about exercising the body but also getting the correct movement and understanding from your horse. So starting with going over one pole at a time is best, and you can do a lot with this! Here are some examples:

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You can also put poles randomly in the school, walk around them and go over them at different angles, in hand or ridden. Making your route through the pole different each time can make it fun and spontaneous for your horse as they rely on you to guide them and make them think about where their feet are going as they may need to do a lateral step when the angle is close to the pole.   

Once your horse is going over poles confidently, not tripping or hitting the pole, you can do the same pole formations but start to gradually raise them. This will increase proprioception, core and limb strength and balance.

So What's Next?

So you now have your horse going over one raised pole at a time in different formations and patterns and they feel confident and hardly ever hit a pole and now you want to start the next step. Next, start going over multiple poles, engaging the core and getting a better balance, this will help to lengthen or shorten the stride of a horse. Make sure you get the right distance between the pole and start the pole wide and bring them in. Here is a website that shows how to do this:

If you don't feel confident, make sure to have a riding instructor to help you. Here are some ideas for pole exercises. 

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You can then raise the poles, which will ask for more effort from your horse. If any issues come up during these exercises, take your time to think through the problem. Did you progress too fast? do you need to rethink the distance? And always ask for help if you need it.

For help or more ideas get in contact!!