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Fave trot and canter pole exercises?

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  • Fave trot and canter pole exercises?

    Title says it all. I have a few babies that seem to get a lot out of pole exercises and they entertain me too. I am looking for some new ones to spice things up. One request - not too many straight lines.

    TIA
    Shop online at
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    http://sweetolivefarm.com/services.php

  • #2
    /\/\/\ - you can trot straight thru them, or circle and straight over a pole - continue that funnest ever!

    + this is 4 poles and you can clover leaf

    i'm preferable to the hunter/jumper exercises for canter pole work its got really good pacing and distances to help shorten, stabilize and lengthen the stride
    Carol and Princess Dewi

    **~Doccer'sDressage~**

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    • #3
      You can put four poles evenly around a 20m (or larger) circle and practice spiralling in and out. Ride over the center of each, then move to the inside, then back over the center, then to the outside, etc.
      Or you can lay them out in a fan and shorten stride to go over the closer ends, then lengthen to go over the further apart ends on your next pass.
      I wish I could make diagrams... I hope you can figure out what I mean from the description.
      Join a new horse sim where you can train, show and breed dressage horses, jumpers and eventers! Fun and free with mature players.
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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Doccoer, I think your babies are way further on than mine, holy cow. Thanks Andy, that's a great idea.
        Shop online at
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        http://sweetolivefarm.com/services.php

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        • #5
          no way! it's all just turning and inside leg stuff. when you say babies... how baby=ish? lol i did this with a green 4yo.

          maybe don't do it in the canter, but walk and trot for sure!

          just turning, inside leg/outside rein, and a focal point for the rider

          I think i misunderstood 'babies' lol
          Carol and Princess Dewi

          **~Doccer'sDressage~**

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Babies as in 3 year old warmbloods. I could maybe try that at walk and trot though I guess. I saw the diagram and the word canter and went "ahhhhh!!!!" (he he he)
            Shop online at
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            • #7
              I'm a hunter and equitaion person but our Tues lessons are always flat and cavaletti and can sometimes be more challenging than jumping. One of my favorite excerises my trainer has us do is doing a big figurre 8 (20m circles) with 4-5 walk poles in the middle where you change direction. Walk through the poles, pick up trot and trot circle back to poles, walk through poles, pick up trot and circle the other way, etc. I found it really helped green horses with downward transitions as they pay attention to the poles and back themselves up a bit to carefully walk through without using too much hand and pulling. Elevating the poles a bit helps too and that way they can't kick them all over the place.

              For more advanced horses we would do walk/canter and try to get the transitions closer to the poles. And of course my trainer has us do it without stirrups so we keep our upper bodies quiet and don't lean toward the poles. The cool thing is that I saw an improvement in all horses I did this with, green, made, young and old.

              For canter work, we will just canter a 3 yr old over a single pole just to work on going to the center, strait and keeping the stride the same to and away from the pole. Eventually we add a second pole and have a little line so they start to get the idea that there is more than one "jump" in a row. I really enjoy poles as you can practice a lot of stuff and it really helps with accuracy.

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              • #8
                My trainer is a big fan of poles/cavaletti exercises too - she always says that they give your flatwork a sense of purpose. I ride an older horse who's somewhat disdainful of flatwork, so the poles help to keep his attention, and I can practice elements of our jumping without pounding his legs too much.

                I like the pole fan too - doing it on a circle helps with keeping a consistent bend, and you can shorten a little to go over the narrow side, and stretch a little to do the far side.

                The classic setting a line, riding it in the normal number of strides, and then adding and subtracting strides works great with poles. You can also make a Y: - - (hope that works!) and practice going right and left after the first
                -
                pole, and rolling back. Also, anything you can do in a grid (one stride to two stride, etc.), you can do with poles.
                "A canter is a cure for every evil." -Benjamin Disraeli

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Excellent ideas and thoughts. I am definitely going to try those. That's exactly why we are doing them, to give the horse purpose (and me focused) and to help them realize they might need to balance up and look for things out there. It seems to be working great, one 3 yr hunter to be gave me a lead change at the end, it just felt so "there" that I went ahead and asked - I figured if she doesn't do it who cares, nobody expects her to yet anyway. She did it like it was the easiest thing ever, I was quite proud. The other thing I notice is that setting an exercise over poles can end up a lot harder tahn you think. They can really pinpoint your weaknesses, which it great for me.
                  Shop online at
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                  • #10
                    101 Jumping Exercises by Linda Allen and our own Dianna Dennis (Weatherford) is about half pole exercises. Great stuff.
                    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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