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netg
Dec. 31, 2010, 08:18 PM
I've never been as well-versed in ground pole exercises as I would like to be, and have discussed with my trainer that I would like to work on fixing this deficit.

I'm asking all of you, too - what exercises do you like to use, if you do any? I know I've seen several books mentioned here and have them on my wish list, but I'm open to more suggestions.

InsideLeg2OutsideRein
Dec. 31, 2010, 11:11 PM
I asked a similar question on the jumping forum. Basically distances can really be difficult to set properly (or better, the wrong distance can really screw a horse up), so it's best to do it under a trainer's supervision. I currently only use a few single poles littered across the arena and one tiny cross rail. This is one of the reasons I'll be actually moving to an eventing barn soon, so I may have better input in a couple of months. :winkgrin:

spirithorse
Dec. 31, 2010, 11:13 PM
Ingrid Klimke wrote a book on use of cavalletti....actually ground poles.
It is most informative for ground pole use, not actual cavalletti.

ThreeFigs
Jan. 1, 2011, 12:59 AM
One of the coolest recent exercises I rode was over a series of rails set in an "S" curve. The horse actually had to adjust his strides and pay attention going through the line.

I agree doing pole work is easier with a ground person (instructor/trainer/friend) to adjust things as necessary.

Setting the ground poles at twice the distance for trot strides is useful to set up exercises for rhythm. Go through them, don't rush.

Set the poles at the compass points on a circle and trot them. Vary the size of the circles as you trot around the circle and over the poles.

Raising the cavalletti a little helps horses build strength and power for things like piaffe, passage and mediums.

ACP
Jan. 1, 2011, 02:12 AM
I think Amazon has copies of Klimke on Cavalletti which was written by Dr. Kilmke and updated by his daughter, Ingrid. It is full of information on working with ground poles. Avery good book.

Oberon13
Jan. 1, 2011, 03:55 PM
I'm not sure cavaletti can "screw up" a horse. Actually, I like challenging my horse periodically and riding through cavaletti that I really have no clue the distances they were set. They may have been set for the pony in the barn or for the big 18 hand warmblood...I don't care. I like the challenge of having my mare think for herself and be aware of where her feet are, so the awkward distances can help that. (Of course, as a rider, I'm always aware of the possibility that she'll jump them...all of them...so I prepare for that). But, "screw up" my horse? Nah.

Then, there are the traditional exercises like in the Klimke book, where you intentionally set a distance based upon your horse's stride to either encourage collection or extension or engagement or any number of good things from your horse. Also useful to keep the rider tuned in to her own body...not throwing yourself around, keeping rhythmic, absorbing the extra energy and letting it flow through your body, etc.

One of my favorite cavellti exercises is to place them (4 or 5) in a fan shape where the "just right" distance for my horse is in the middle of the poles. Then, I can ride it on a circle...hit the middle for "just right"...cut a bit to the inside and make my circle smaller for more upward engagement....cut a bit to the outside and make my circle bigger for more reach and push.

I do love cavaletti...I hope you and your trainer can work out some neat exercises for you soon!

Doctracy
Jan. 1, 2011, 04:12 PM
Tim Kimura, a trail horse course designer, is amazing with ground poles. He has several DVDs. I attended one of his clinics and it totally changed the way I train. He's an ex-jumper and brings a lot of that into his training. His fans, circles, serpentines, raised pole exercises may be too advanced but it's amazing to see what you can do with just poles on the ground.

Doctracy
Jan. 1, 2011, 04:58 PM
Here's some interesting Kimura exercises!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dOEF0OCC5M&feature=youtube_gdata_player

This one is a lot more fun. Gambler's Choice Trail, BNT Karen Quall's riding, much, much faster pace:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsKpQTzjk_M&feature=youtube_gdata_player

netg
Jan. 2, 2011, 01:59 AM
Tim Kimura, a trail horse course designer, is amazing with ground poles. He has several DVDs. I attended one of his clinics and it totally changed the way I train. He's an ex-jumper and brings a lot of that into his training. His fans, circles, serpentines, raised pole exercises may be too advanced but it's amazing to see what you can do with just poles on the ground.

One of the first trainers I rode with was a h/j trainer who got me started on ground poles at 7... then I ended up showing breed shows, and trail was *my class* (well, besides hunter hack) so most of my ground pole exercises are those crazy types! They're fun for getting my horse to accept the concept of figuring things out for himself instead of relying on me completely.

Thank you everyone for suggestions! I'm not sure how long until we have our new barn set up, but I hope we work on a new exercise each week, even if just slight variations of other ones. (We've done plenty of trotting at his normal stride length or longer, now we're doing 3' trot poles and he's getting the concept of lifting himself through them nicely, even on a slight downhill slope. So far, definitely my favorite exercise - gets my half halts effective, too!)

alicen
Jan. 2, 2011, 06:36 AM
A little off track here, but watching a Western pleasure horse walk could be a sleep aid for insomniacs.

cherham
Jan. 2, 2011, 07:09 AM
I must admit that I have never seen a western pleasure class either. Pretty neat to watch (OK I have NO idea how they get those horses to move that slow) but that 2008 Champions tail was fabulous! I am sure it was probably fake but the black triangle colour pattern was really nice.

Doctracy
Jan. 2, 2011, 01:24 PM
That second video, if you have not seen it, I promise, will not put you to sleep. I challenge you to set it up and try it! And, it's not slow because it was a timed class.

Doctracy
Jan. 2, 2011, 01:47 PM
I must admit that I have never seen a western pleasure class either. Pretty neat to watch (OK I have NO idea how they get those horses to move that slow) but that 2008 Champions tail was fabulous! I am sure it was probably fake but the black triangle colour pattern was really nice.
Yes, it is a pretty color. I'd be willing to bet it was a custom made tail to match the actual tail, which probably also has those colors mixed like that. I have a bay and white medicine hat, her colors mic together a lot like that.
I just watched another trail class, Xtreme Krymsum at the quarter Horse Congrss. Very nice. No hits on the poles and what I really like is that the rider rode off her leg, I saw almost no hand motion or rein commands, which really increases the level of difficulty in the trail class. Ideally, the trail horse should be able to be ridden without the bridle but that's pretty rare.
Anyway, it was a lovely ride and also a very nice Kimura type pattern that I found on You-tube.
I had a world CH in both QH and Paint in trail, my favorite western class.

netg
Jan. 2, 2011, 09:10 PM
I must admit that I have never seen a western pleasure class either. Pretty neat to watch (OK I have NO idea how they get those horses to move that slow) but that 2008 Champions tail was fabulous! I am sure it was probably fake but the black triangle colour pattern was really nice.

Good trainers start with a horse inclined to go slowly, and use seat/their own movement to slow the horse gradually, just like you would a dressage horse.

Bad trainers run the legs off a horse in a round pen, then get on and tie the head down and use horrific bits to force it. Massive spurs are required, of course, regardless of the horse.


Assuming the horse has the natural tendency, both take about the same amount of time, but only one type turns out horses I think are worth watching.

buck22
Jan. 3, 2011, 07:10 AM
This one is a lot more fun. Gambler's Choice Trail, BNT Karen Quall's riding, much, much faster pace:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsKpQTzjk_M&feature=youtube_gdata_player
how on earth does one remember that pattern?:eek:

nhwr
Jan. 3, 2011, 09:49 AM
Cool videos

Here is a good book for exercise with ground poles.

http://www.amazon.com/Stretch-Exercises-Your-Horse-Suppleness/dp/1570762457/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1294065716&sr=1-6

Don't let the cover fool you, most of the exercises described in the book are done under saddle and a lot of them involve ground poles.

Sonoma City
Jan. 3, 2011, 10:21 AM
I do a lot of lunging over raised cavaletti to get my horses engaged more. Depending on their level of training, I sometimes raise the middle two cavaletti (in a series of 4) a bit higher than the end rails.

One of my favorite pole exercises that can be done at the trot or canter I call the "clover leaf". It doesn't work so well in a traditional sized indoor, but if you have a wide indoor or a large outdoor ring it works well. Basically, set up a circle of poles, with one at each quarter, in about a 15m circle. Ride each pole straight, then do a 10m circle going away from the direction of the next pole, then continue straight over the next pole and repeat. So if the poles are set up so if you could ride a circle over them on your right rein, you go over one pole, then do a 10m circle to the left, then go over the next pole, etc. If you do it at the canter you would pick up your left lead to go around the poles to the right since your 10m circles will be tracking left. I hope that makes sense!

magnolia73
Jan. 3, 2011, 10:34 AM
My recent favorite is to set up a long line of trot poles, maybe 8-10 in a row, then pull out random poles. It keeps them concentrating.

netg
Jan. 3, 2011, 11:07 AM
So if the poles are set up so if you could ride a circle over them on your right rein, you go over one pole, then do a 10m circle to the left, then go over the next pole, etc. If you do it at the canter you would pick up your left lead to go around the poles to the right since your 10m circles will be tracking left. I hope that makes sense!

This sounds like one which may be good for our "you CAN counter canter when I tell you, goofball!" arguments we've been having. He can balance fine counter cantering, it's just that he knows it's WRONG so he tries to fix it for me.

Sonoma City
Jan. 3, 2011, 11:41 AM
This sounds like one which may be good for our "you CAN counter canter when I tell you, goofball!" arguments we've been having. He can balance fine counter cantering, it's just that he knows it's WRONG so he tries to fix it for me.

What a good boy trying to fix it for you :P

A variation of the exercise to really work the counter canter: once you are doing the full clover leaf successfully, you can do the 10m canter circle every other pole. So you are basically doing 1/2 of the larger circle of counter canter, then a 10m circle in regular canter, then 1/2 the circle in counter canter, etc. I need a virtual note pad to draw these things out!

happyhaffiehaley
Jan. 3, 2011, 12:14 PM
One fun, simple exercise is to put four poles on a 20m circle, one at each quarter like the cloverleaf exercise. Instead of circling after going over each pole, ride the entire 20m circle at the walk, trot, or canter. You can aim for the near end, middle, or far end of each pole.

I find this exercise really helps me with my precision, accuracy, and focus; if I'm not riding every step and thinking ahead, everything falls apart. Going over different parts of the pole maintains your control and gives you the opportunity to lengthen and shorten. Once you pick your path, the poles can help you really focus on rhythm and regularity so that you keep the number of strides the same in between every pole. Also, this is a great exercise to test your outside aids!

Have fun!

Haley

KateKat
Jan. 3, 2011, 12:54 PM
Here's some interesting Kimura exercises!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dOEF0OCC5M&feature=youtube_gdata_player

This one is a lot more fun. Gambler's Choice Trail, BNT Karen Quall's riding, much, much faster pace:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsKpQTzjk_M&feature=youtube_gdata_player

That second one was crazy! I know I wouldn't have been able to do that. What was she holding in her other hand the whole time though?

netg
Jan. 3, 2011, 09:17 PM
What a good boy trying to fix it for you :P

A variation of the exercise to really work the counter canter: once you are doing the full clover leaf successfully, you can do the 10m canter circle every other pole. So you are basically doing 1/2 of the larger circle of counter canter, then a 10m circle in regular canter, then 1/2 the circle in counter canter, etc. I need a virtual note pad to draw these things out!

I think I get what you're saying though. :)

He is a very good boy! Our problems are at least 95% me, because he does everything he possibly can to be good, so if he's doing it wrong it's because I've given him the impression it's right. :)

Doctracy
Jan. 4, 2011, 12:44 PM
how on earth does one remember that pattern?:eek:
Not easy. You do get to walk the course. Tim Kimura teaches some tricks. He tends to color code so each portion is a color. Also, he teaches you a method to write down the pattern in colors. Walk, trot, lope. Back in different colors. But, it's still really, really hard. Probably part of why I love this class and the Equitation over fences, even though I have brain farts at times. It's so challenging.
Getting a horse to learn to carry himself over the poles without hitting them is also so much like jumping except in some ways I think it's harder. Especially when you take the poles through a diagonal line or have to stop in a square from a lope.
I have a yearling who will be my next field hunter but I'm also planning on teaching her trail. I sold her sister and she was a World CH in WP but I have no interest in that. She will learn trail and western riding (if she has a good flying lead change).

Doctracy
Jan. 4, 2011, 12:47 PM
That second one was crazy! I know I wouldn't have been able to do that. What was she holding in her other hand the whole time though?
That was a romal type western rein. You hold the excess in your free hand. It's a beautiful, old style rein used by the Vaqueros. Still popular on the West Coast for trail, working cow horse and other pattern classes.

Pocket Pony
Jan. 4, 2011, 08:28 PM
I love, love, love ground pole exercises and use them for every ride while warming up - I find it really helps loosen the back and engage the brain for both of us.

Favorites are:

The wheel of death: set four poles at N, E, S, and W on a 20-m circle and go through them at the walk, trot, and canter. I'll also do transitions between the poles - trot to walk, walk over a pole, trot, trot over a pole, walk, etc. Easier at the W/T than at the T/C, although that is a good challenge for really sharpening your transitions.

Clover leaf: set up like the wheel of death, just pull all the poles in so the ends are touching each other and they come out at right angles to each other like a "+" sign. Go over a pole, turn and do a circle, then go over the next pole, turn another circle, go over the next pole. Think someone else explained it pretty well. I also do transitions throughout this exercise.

I also will set maybe three poles spaced for a walk, leave a little space and then set three poles set for a trot, so I walk through the first three, then trot in the middle and trot out, then reverse the exercise. My arena's not huge so I'll do this on the diagonal and then set canter poles down the long side and canter over those and then back to the walk or trot depending on which way I'm going.

I like to really incorporate transitions in the exercises so whatever I do over the poles, I'm usually changing gait before or after to keep us really sharp and on top of it.

I really love the variety and concentration and most of all the looseness I feel in Paddy after doing these patterns.

Doctracy
Jan. 4, 2011, 08:55 PM
Love the wheel of death!
I also like to set up a box. So many things you can do with a box. Or two connected boxes. Use your imagination. Canter throughs. Stop in the box. Go through north, turn and go west, south, etc.
360 in the box. 6 foot poles are used for trail. Lots of collection. My best trail horse was 16.2 hands and it was really tough to get the 6 foot stride. Really had to rock back on the hocks.