Gymnastic exercises are fantastic to implement into the weekly routine for your horses. Not only do pole exercises help to strengthen your horses core, but they also keep you as a rider entertained and focussed in the arena (especially if it is the off-season). There is nothing better than a good pole session to prevent rider and horse form becoming arena 'sour!'
What you will need:
All you will need is 4-10 showjumping poles.
Spacing between poles varies between horses and must account for their size/ length of pace. However, this is the standard measurements.
(If you measure the length of your steps before hand, you can space out distances without needing a tape)
Walk Poles: 0.8-1m (1 'big' step)
Trot Poles: 1.2-1.5, (1 and 1 foot length step)
Canter Poles: 2.7-3.3, (3 'big' steps)
Exercise 1- TROT FAN
This exercise is great for balance, planning and engagement of your horse's hind end. Complete on both reins, and once confident, it can be completed at a canter with a bounce between poles.
Exercise 2- BENDING TROT POLES
This is a more difficult trot exercise requiring accurate planning and execution. You can change the distance between poles, noting the closer they are together, the more difficult the exercise will be.
Exercise 3- CANTER SQUARE
The first of our canter exercises is our canter fan. This may look easy, but it is incredibly difficult to maintain even 4 strides between the poles the longer you go on. To begin, you can start by having just 2 poles and build up to 4. Again, this can be completed on both reins!
Exercise 4- Lead Finder
This is a great exercise for both advance riders and intermediate.
Variation 1- Trot the first pole, pick up the canter and then go left or right depending on which lead is picked up
Variation 2- Canter first pole, and complete a lead change over the second pole, going left or right depending on new lead
We hope you enjoy our exercises, let us know your thoughts below!