Pole work is a great way to add variety and fun into your sessions with your horse! It’s great for improving your scales of training and your accuracy as a rider. Incorporate it into your regular training sessions or it can be a session on its own! Here are some pole work exercises to help you get inspired.
The Slide takes the shape of a variation of 3 standard trot poles but only ⅔ s of the poles overlap and ⅓ of the poles is separate creating a slide pattern. Each pole is parallel and one trot stride apart from the next.
To begin with, just ride in trot over one pole. This will be on the ⅓ of the pole that is separate from the others. Then introduce a second pole, again choosing the part where just two poles overlap. Finally ride over all three poles. This is a good test for your accuracy as only ⅓ of the poles line up all together. Then ride across the arena, through the poles. Do this in either trot or canter!
Put three poles in a triangle shape and make sure it is lined up in the middle of the arena, on the centre line. You could also set this up with the ¾ line if you want to practice your circles there instead of on the centre line.
Start by riding a diagonal line through the triangle coming in from the base of the triangle and out over the point, making sure you stay straight. Then, do it the other way round and ride into the triangle at the point and out at the base. Next, ride 20m circles in trot and aim to come through the inside ⅓ of the layout.
To start with, you lay your poles out in a triangle just like the last exercise. Then you take the end of the base pole and walk it round to form a zig zag shape.
To begin with, ride some straight lines in trot across the diagonal and go over one pole per line. Make each diagonal line incorporate a different pole each time. You might need to make small turns to begin each diagonal line. Next make turns towards the points of the zig zag and ride a straight line over them. The point going away from you is easier to ride a straight line over than the point towards you.
Just like “The Slide”, there are sections where ⅔ of the poles overlap with ⅓ of the pole sticking out. You have sections where you can ride 1 pole alone, 2 poles together and then all 3 poles too! They are one trot stride apart and the ends are measured to make sure they are parallel.
Start by riding a straight line in trot over one pole, then two, then three. Once you have had a go in trot, pick up the canter and use the single pole in canter on a circle.
To start with, you lay your poles out in the same layout as the last exercise “The Crown”. Then take the middle pole and lay it across the end of the other two poles and this should line up.
To start with, trot straight down the ¾ line in trot over the two poles making sure the horse does not rush through them. Then put a transition in the middle of the two poles. Next, come on a circle and cross on of the poles at a slightly varied angle.
These exercises are part of a training program in the Ridely app. Ridely is a leading equestrian app that helps riders plan their schedules with their horses and track their progress. It has a video library of over 300 exercises with trainers such as Carl Hester, Charlotte Dujardin, Henrik von Eckermann, Meredith Michaels Beerbaum and more! The app has many training programs that riders can use to take them through step by step sessions towards reaching their end goals- including this program! New programs are added frequently. Download the app in the App Store or on Google Play so you don’t miss out!
Each training program has its own group where riders taking on the same programs can share their experiences, tips and advice. There is a licensed trainer in each group to answer questions. The creator of these exercises, Tania Grantham, is in the group for this program to answer any questions!
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