How to Do Pole Work with a Horse

Three Methods:Single PolesRows of PolesRaised Poles

Pole work, or riding over poles, is a good introduction to jumping. It regulates a horse's stride and helps improve your balance and rhythm. Pole work is also a good way to learn how to approach an obstacle inside or outside of riding school.

Method 1
Single Poles

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    Begin with single poles spaced out around an even land in your riding school.
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    Use aids to guide your horse over them, letting your horse move his neck around and look at the poles.
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    Change your direction from time to time.
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    Once your horse is used to the poles, ride over them at a rising trot.
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    Keep at an even pace, and concentrate on your rhythm and impulsion. Don't look down or back at the poles, or you may lose your balance.
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    Try this in forward Position too.

Method 2
Rows of Poles

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    Once you can trot over single poles, try a row of three.
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    Never use two- your horse may think he is meant to jump the pole like a fence.
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    When you can trot over 3 poles, add more, one at a time, until you have a row of six.
    • The way in which you space your poles depends on the length of your horse's stride. The table below shows Trotting pole distances.
    • All you need to know is the height of your horse or pony
      • up to 12.2hh= 1.05m (3.6ft)
      • 12.2hh-14.2hh=1.20(4ft)
      • 14.2hh- 16.2hh=1.35m (4.6ft)
      • over 16.2hh= 1.50m (5ft)

Method 3
Raised Poles

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    To make the exercise harder, raise the poles slightly by putting blocks under alternate ends. This makes your horse take higher steps.
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    Once you feel happy riding over raised poles in your normal position, try it in forward position.
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    Don't try to do it too many times in a row, and end each session while your horse is going well.

Tips

  • It is easier to keep a good line if the poles are at the edge of the field/ school.
  • Brightly colored poles are easier for horses to see.
  • Solid, rounded poles will rock if the horse knocks them.
  • Counting numbers aloud over the poles may help your rhythm.

Warnings

  • Please learn to jump before trying only 2 poles!

Article Info

Categories: Riding