I often recommend polework to my clients to carry out in between appointments. Pole exercises are great for a number of reasons, such as increasing the range of motion in the joints, lengthening and shortening the stride, engaging the hind quarters and teaching the horse to lift through the shoulder. It can also really help a young or green horse to improve their balance and proprioception. All types of horses can benefit from carrying out polework as most exercises can be carried out in hand, on the lunge or when long reining.
I often use poles as part of a schooling session with my own horse. Being a typical Welsh, he thinks there are monsters lurking round every corner waiting to eat him and he therefore has the attention span of a gnat. He can also be quite strong willed (again, Welsh 🙄) so when he’s distracted and not really listening to what is being asked of him, I break the session up by popping him over some poles for a few minutes which works as a means of getting his attention back on to me, and to add a bit of variety in to the session.
It can be difficult to draw inspiration as to how to lay the poles out. There are plenty of exercises floating around that use a huge amount of poles, but not everybody has access to that many poles, there may be time restrictions, and sometimes it can just be too much effort to lay them all out after a hard day at work.
Each Wednesday I will share a different polework exercise on my Facebook page with the aim of keeping it simple, and yet effective. This page will be updated regularly with the polework exercises too, so you can check back to them for easier reference.