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Exercises with ground poles?

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  • Exercises with ground poles?

    Some background:

    I have a youngster that I'm bringing along as a 3-day event horse, but I've been doing less jumping lately in order to prep for and take part in a local dressage show series. We've had some great successes and are now scoring in the high 60's/low 70's at training level. Now that the series is almost over, I'm going to return to more jumping related work.

    I work with a trainer 3x/week and when we jump, it's usually on M/F to give a few days between sessions, with wednesday continuing to be a dressage day (lately we've been doing dressage for all 3 lessons/week).

    I'd like to get people's opinions on some of the most effective exercises I can do during my practice sessions to help with jumping, but only just use ground poles. My barn allows people to jump outside of lessons, but I don't want to stress my horse by jumping too much. I'd be totally cool with doing ground pole exercises or cavaletti outside of lessons.

    My horse's strengths:
    (1) will jump pretty much anything even if the spot is bad. She is good at figuring out how to use her body over the jump.
    (2) she has nice jumping style with tidy knees

    Things my horse needs help with:
    (1) Tends to get a bit quick in front of the jump. She is more than capable of jumping big stuff at a trot but she seems to want to canter the last stride or two even if I'm not asking for that and even when the jumps are small (2' or lower). Even when I ride with a loose rein and very light contact so as to stay off her mouth, she still does this.

    (2) When doing jumping exercises on a 20m circle or doing a course with big turns, she tends to fall to the inside.

    (3) Needs help with rhythm when doing a course. In the dressage ring, she gets high marks on rhythm and the consistency of the movements and gaits so she is clearly capable in this regard. However, throw in some jumps and I feel like I have to make a ton of adjustments before the fence, after the fence, etc. I would like her to be a bit more consistent.

    What exercises with ground poles and/or cavaletti would people recommend doing to help with the above?

  • #2
    My favorite is just three poles, in curve. On the inside of the curve they are about 9 feet apart, on the outside they are about 11 feet apart.

    I actually spend a day or two a week where I ride in the field and do ground pole exercises. I have single poles on a circle (one at each end). The curve I just described. And a line of five poles, ten feet apart. I also have three cavaletti, ten feet apart. I do little "courses" with those. They should hold their lead over all the exercises. Do not look for distances, just keep a rhythm and let them figure it out. The ten feet is a fairly quiet canter for mine, but I want them to push up a little behind.
    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


    • #3
      There's nothing new under the sun

      You need to get a hold of a copy of Bert deNemethy: The deNemethy method , published by Doubleday. If you know whats in the book, you know everything about riding - and it also comes with 40 pages of the exact exercises you and your horse would need!