Zig Zag - Mark 2
Here’s a different take on the previously posted zig-zag exercise, this time using six poles to make a ‘gangway’ with two points, instead of using five poles in a singular line to make four points.
As well as riding in between the poles, and practicing accurate turns, this layout can be lead, ridden and long reined over, and as you can see from the images, its very versatile with several different exercises available. The poles are quite effective if they are on the ground, but you can make the exercises more challenging if you so wish by raising them.
Personally, I would be aiming for approximately five of my footsteps from toe to heel between the poles, but if you have a bigger horse with a longer stride, you could increase this distance to suit.
🔸 Circles - circles over poles can help to improve the horses suppleness, especially if there is some stiffness felt on one rein. It allows the rider to focus on bending the horse equally and consistently on both reins. This exercise is a good trot exercise for horse who lose rhythm and impulsion on a turn.
🔸 S-Bend - similar to circles, this exercise focuses mainly on bend, however also involves a change of direction and therefore a change of bend. This exercise is good for encouraging and improving the bend, rhythm, tempo and impulsion while during the change of bend.
🔸 Horizontal and Vertical Lines - a simple exercise working on keeping the horse straight. This can be a valuable exercise to see if the horse ‘drifts’ to one side, which could be an indication of a crooked horse or rider. You can also rein back several strides, again to check for straightness. Please note; if you do rein back, please only do so for 3/4 strides, and only do this a few times during the session, to avoid putting undue strain on the joints.
🔸 Diagonal Lines - you can use the points on the bends to practice accuracy in preparation of jumping. For a more advanced exercise, you can use a plastic block to raise the ends and make an ‘arrowhead’ to jump over.