The Square

This polework layout is versatile, as there are several exercises you can do when ridden, long reined or in hand. This exercise gives mental stimulation and works on proprioception.  The poles can be on the floor, or raised slightly at one or both ends.

1️⃣ Circles on each corner. This exercise can be done in walk, trot and canter. Quite self explanatory, you ride over each corner on a small (10/15m) circle. This exercise is good for maintaining bend while keeping a rhythmical gait.

2️⃣ Lengthening. Best at trot, ride over the centre of two poles parallel to each other, and count the trot strides in between each pole. Next time you come round, push for a bigger stride and use the poles to count how many strides - this may take some practice!

3️⃣ Change direction. Best at walk or trot. Go over the first pole, then turn left and go over the next pole. Then turn back and go over the first pole again, but this time go right. Try to go over all four poles equally on both reins. You could also use this method as an introduction to turn on the forehand or turn on the haunches as it would give the horse something to focus on.

4️⃣ Transitions over the poles. Starting in walk, ask for a halt while over the pole so that the horses front legs are in front of the pole, and the hind legs are behind. Wait a few seconds and walk on. You can also make upwards transitions into trot, and downward transitions in to walk over the poles. This is good for improving rider accuracy and to raise the horse’s awareness of where his feet and legs are.

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