Add some fun and variety to your training program.

Dressage Exercises: Beginning trot poles on a 20m circle.

Beginning trot poles on a 20m circle.

20MtrotpoleIf you have never worked through trot poles, then walk through 20-meter circle over the pole until you are confident. Set your goal to keep your horse going forward over the pole. Once you are comfortable with the single pole you have two options.

  1. Continue at the walk and add another pole (step 2)
  2. Try trotting with the single pole

The addition of poles does not have to happen all in one day. Depending on your and your horse’s experience, add poles accordingly. Take as much time as you need to get four poles in place. This exercise can be done at the working trot and the canter.  At pony club camp we call it the circle of death. 🙂 HA!  it is a wonderful exercise to keep your horse focused and balanced.

As you are riding try to keep your upper body tall and centered over your hips and keep your hands, and arms supple following your horse’s mouth. Avoid pulling or gripping with your hands or legs. If your horse speeds up through the ground poles then make your adjustment on the circle where there are no poles, and enforce the half-halt and as you approach the poles. If your horse is running away with you and speeding through the circles back everything off and go back to the walk. When you are balanced in and in control, ride the circles in both directions changing rein through the center of the circle or turn out in a big rollback.

When you are working on this exercise focus on rhythm and balance eventually your horse should step directly over the pole like it is not there. Don’t allow your horse to speed up when he sees the pole if you need to make a small circle in the opposite direction and stay on that circle until you have regained your rhythm and pace then circle back to the pole. Give yourself and your horse frequent breathers and quit while you are ahead. You are much better off working through any exercise accurately then excessively.


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