I’ve been asked to run a couple of polework clinics for a local riding club so I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for ideas and testing them out.
Here’s today’s polework question to get the horses thinking.
Lay four trotting poles out, at the correct distance for the horse. Then lay another four trotting poles out at ninety degrees, so that the second and third poles lie over the middle two poles of the other set of poles.
Thus you have one row of trotting poles on the ground, with a train track to encourage the horse to stay straight. And in the other direction you have a similar effect, but with two poles raised.
To look at, this square of poles is quite an eyesore. The horse has to really think about where they are placing their feet. The perpendicular poles ensure straightness, and the raised ones improve suppleness through the joints and over the back.
The first time each horse met the square, they backed off while they puzzled it out. After trotting through the poles a few times the trot felt much looser, and any subsequent canters were much more elevated and balanced.
This exercise can be expanded by adjusting the distance between to poles so it is ridden in either medium or collected trot, or even canter which will build more strength and agility.