The Lonely Pole
I have recently been inspired to create an exercise using just one pole. A little while ago I was looking for inspiration on different pole exercises to do with my own horse. A lady had commented on a particular post with quite a complicated exercise and asked if it was possible to do various exercises with just one pole on it’s own. She was answered with something along the lines of ‘haha - no’. Well of course you can! In fact, included below is a drawing showing four exercises you can do with one pole.
In the photo, you should just be able to make out the two tyres and two yellow jump blocks which are put out as markers to ride round. These are represented by red crosses on the drawing. These aren’t necessary, but could just help give you something to aim for while doing the exercises. If you did want to put something out, you could easily improvise with whatever you have to hand. Cones are good, but you could also use buckets or even coats or jumpers! Just make sure that whatever you use is weighed down, otherwise if there is a sudden gust of wind you may end up with a lot more impulsion than expected!!🐎💨
The four exercises drawn are pretty self explanatory. They can be done in hand, whilst long reining and when ridden and are best carried out in walk and trot. They could be done at canter, but only if the horse is well established and correctly balanced. The two figure of eight exercises are good for rider balance and coordination, and are also a good way to practice lines in preparation to jumping a course. These exercises also encourage straightness, correct bending and balance in the horse. As well as helping improve bend and balance, the two circle exercises can help to alleviate stiffness and improve the range of motion in the joints and you can choose how small or big to ride the circle, or add a bit of leg yielding in to the mix and spiral in and out!
It goes without saying that whatever exercises you do should be done equally on both reins, in all directions.