Welcome to 2019, what a “bucking” year it has been! We have had many ups & of course a number of downs too (isn’t that right Orla!!)
Instead of throwing a shit-tone of throwbacks & giving you a round up from our 2018 year, we thought you guys would appreciate a little gentle push back into getting your horse on track for the spring/summer season. It would be quite rude of us not to share some of our go to exercises with you all, so please take a moment to welcome our “January Ultimate Exercise Series”.
We have 4 fabulous exercises in the pipeline for you guys to try & test out for yourselves. Both Dante & Coco will be put to the test themselves, between the both of them they have had some significant time off over the last few weeks so it shall be an interesting dynamic!
So Feast your eyes below on our first simple, yet effective exercise to ease everyone back into some light work.
What you Will Need?
For starters you will need an arena or an open field & 12 Ground poles. Set the poles up 3 a piece. See the diagram below.
I set up the poles with the distance of 4.5 footsteps in between, this may need to be adjusted to 4 footsteps for ponies, or if you intend on your horse to stretch, I would do 5 footsteps in between.
If you wish to make the exercise that bit more difficult, you can add in wings to make the trot poles into raised trot poles, or if you have them you can use cavletti poles.
What this Exercise is Good For?
- Control in your pace
- Accuracy on approach to your poles
- Maintaining a consistant rhythm
How To Ride this Exercise
- Firstly, I would recommend a good warm up before you start, especially if your horse has been off over Christmas. From being in that little bit more over the winter months & being in the stable, getting them warmed up properly before any intense work is vital to ensure no injuries are picked up.
- I Focused on a lot of transition work before doing this exercise. With their being a lot of bending around your leg and keeping the consistant rhythm getting your horse to listen to you and your aids is vital.
- Start this exercise by approaching each set of poles singularly, a set of 3 at a time. As your horse begins to get into a steady rhythm, and starts to flow through the corners, then you can start piecing the “Pole course” together. See diagram below.
- Focus mainly on not letting your horse fall in on the corners as you ride around the bends to your trot poles. Use your inside leg to support him around the corners, making sure not to drop your own shoulder as you ride around.
- Once you feel confident with your horse going over more than 2 sets of trot poles, then you can begin to piece the entire course together. See the diagram below to see the layout of the course I done.
- You can see by my video over on our Instagram Page that Dante was quite hesitant and was putting in that extra half step before he went over the poles, this was mainly due to me holding him and not letting him drop the contact on approach. I intentionally done this, he is the worst for trying to grab and pull the contact from my hands and using this simple trot pole exercise to get him thinking and holding himself together that bit better is a perfect way to start.
Sometimes, the simple exercises are the most effective, this infact really made me aware of how much I tend to let Dante grab the contact from my hands, and how I need to focus more on maintaining an even more consistant contact continually instead of stopping and starting.
Perfecting these small bad habits over exercises that may seen simple will in the long run really stand to you when it comes to jumping a course of fences or when it comes to learning more complicated flat work techniques.
Give this exercise a go, it was one that really brought some of mine & Dante’s flaws to light. If your posting on Instagram so we can keep track of everyone’s progress Make sure to tag us & mention the #UltimateJanuaryExercise hashtag
We can all get fit together, with some great encouragement from one another, its about time the Horse Industry starts building people up with positive comments rather than the negative!
Be sure to leave your comments below or any riding tips I missed out on that you think will be helpful!
As always, thank you for Reading & Happy New Year!