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So Much You Can Do With Two Poles: Series #3

99 Things You Can Do With 2 Poles3

Our new TWO POLE series explores the variety of exercises you can practice to improve both horse and rider, simply using two jump poles. Brought to you by experienced trainer and ReadySupp’s co-founder Didi Verdina, the series covers exercises for all levels of horse and rider and begins with the easiest level. As the series progresses the exercises will become increasingly more difficult so ensure you are ready and don’t tackle anything too advanced for your horse, or for you.

Didi quotes a famous horseman when offering advice for using these training exercises which are designed to help improve your riding, your horse and your enjoyment, so remember this:

“Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect” – George Morris.

Series #3: Another useful exercise to improve rhythm and direction – Can also be used to teach your horse flying changes!

Place two poles on the centre line of your school on a 90 degree angle, so you can approach them coming across the school on a figure of eight.

After you have warmed up, start by trotting over the poles, in this figure of eight so you keep changing reins.

Execution:

Progress this exercise in to canter. If your horse is young or still struggling to maintain a smooth canter in the turns, do a circle at each end of the school (at A and at C), it will help to create a smooth and even canter and be easier to maintain when coming out of the corner on the diagonal.

As you are approaching the pole, collect your canter and do a transition to walk (the younger or more inexperienced your horse is the harder this transition will be; some horses see the pole and tend to rush so make sure you collect the canter with plenty of time and you don’t end up pulling as you are going over the it).

Aim to walk over the pole at a controlled pace, make sure your horse’s back legs are over the pole then ask for a transition to canter. Repeat on the other rein until your transitions get smoother and your horse really listens to your aids.

Make sure you ‘keep the corners round’, so you are riding a figure of eight rather than pushing your horse into the corners. Imagine you are turning towards a jump, you want to support your horse in the turn with your outside rein and leg so you keep him pushing forward from behind, without losing the shoulders to the outside, while maintaining a consistent rhythm and better direction.

Remember: It’s much better to do one or more circles at each end of the school before you come down the diagonal to your transition smoothly without pulling in your horse’s mouth rather than charging towards the poles in a disorganised canter.

If your horse is struggling with the transition or he’s young, practice this exercise in trot first.

Once you get 100% control and responsiveness to the aids, you can progress to ask your horse do a flying change over the poles. Keep your horse really straight coming out of the turn/corner, collect your canter and change the flexion, as your horse is taking off on the pole change the position of your legs with a ‘new’ inside leg to the girth and the ‘new’ outside leg slightly back, and encourage your horse to change canter lead.

Tips: Your legs must be obvious to the horse and positive, do not twist your upper body, remember that your horse understands very clear movements, he will get confused if you move too much on the saddle and, very importantly, don’t let your horse loose straightness after the pole, you must encourage him to keep a good direction to achieve a correct flying change!

 


Follow ReadySupp on social media and via our newsletters for useful (and interesting) articles on nutrition, training, events and equestrian news from our experts. ReadySupp Co-Founder Didi Verdina is our ‘training’ expert, she continues to teach in her spare time, competes, and she is qualified to BHSI level (Italian equivalent). Visit our homepage to subscribe.

If you have any questions on equine supplements, and want to improve your horse’s health, performance, or attitude give our friendly team a call 01672 541 157 for advice. We won’t try and hard sell you anything – we promise.

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Posted in Riding Tips, Showjumping
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