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So Much You Can Do With Two Poles: Series #1

99 Things You Can Do With 2 Poles

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 #1: Exercise to improve your canter.

One of the best exercises to improve the quality of the canter, control of your horse and use of your legs, upper body and hands.

Place 2 poles in a straight line at 21 meters apart. These should be positioned on the three quarter line. After warming up, trot over the poles in both directions.

Execution.

1. Pick up canter on a circle at one end of the school (either A or C), aim to have a good forward going rhythm and make sure your horse or pony is in front of your leg. When you ride over the poles the number of strides you do will vary depending on the size of your horse or pony.  21 meters is a safe distance that should suit any size of horse or pony.

2. Repeat the exercise a few times, on both reins, always circling before and after. Try to feel how many strides your horse or pony is comfortable doing, and try to reproduce the same canter on the circle each time while maintaining that as you are going over the poles, aiming to have exactly the same amount of strides each time.

3. After you have repeated the exercise a few times with a rhythmical canter and the number of strides is established, try a more forward canter in the first circle (before the poles) and take one stride out, then try to shorten and reorganise the canter in the second circle (after the poles).

4. Progress into doing the exercise three times, without interruption, the first time in the working canter that feels comfortable to your horse, the second time asking him to do one less stride, then going back to your working canter for the third time. You’ll find that, if you have done parts 1,2 and 3 properly, your horse will now be reactive to your leg and find it quite easy to go forward, but it might be more difficult to get the canter back the third time.

5. Once all of this is established you can then progress (maybe not all in one day!) to add and take away one more stride. Remember that to do this correctly you will need a huge amount on control of your canter.

Tips:

Make sure that, whether you are going slower or faster, you always focus on the quality of the canter. It should never turn into a canter with no impulsion, or a flat out gallop!

Use your upper body before your hands to shorten the canter.

Maintain a correct position throughout your more forward going canter to help you avoiding your horse galloping off and therefore making the circle after the poles hard to execute!


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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