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The Best Pole Work Exercises for Horses

With equestrian activities on hold why not use this time to build up your horses strength with pole work exercises? 

You can use pole work exercises to increase your horse’s range of limb and joint motion, engage their hindquarters, increase stride length and core stability, and improve their balance. With the right plan you can improve your horses canter, dressage, and even build up strength in young horses.

What’s more, if you don’t have any trotting poles already you can get them delivered from Amazon – perfect for lockdown!

Exercise 1

Using 8 poles set up a square with two additional poles at either end – you can use this layout in various ways, as shown in the diagram below. It’s really good to practice upward and downward transitions through the square whilst also practising straightness.

Polework exercise plan a

Exercise 2

Set up a zigzag pattern. You can be ride this in three ways. Trotting down the zigzag keeps the horse engaged and thinking about where they need to put their feet whilst they develop core strength. This can be progressed by using raised poles.

Polework exercise plan b

Exercise 3

A simple quick layout which can be ridden in walk, trot, and canter. The setup can progress to raised poles at varying distances to encourage shortening and lengthening of strides.

A – walk, trot and canter
B – Trot
C – canter 
D – halt, rein back, downwards transitions

Polework exercise plan c

Why not try something different with you horse to keep their training varied? You can carry out the above exercises under saddle, in-hand, on the lunge, or in long-reined.

We hope you enjoyed our pole work exercises. If you’re looking for something else to do during lock down be sure to check out our social media guide for equestrians!

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