Exercises at a walk with a show jumping pole to increase your horse’s flexibility and obedience


Whether you are a show jumper or not, it’s really important for your horse to place its hooves exactly where you want them. The exercises below help:

  • You as a rider gain a better feel of where your horse is under you.
  • You as a rider gain a better feel of how your horse is moving under you.
  • Improve your ability to give clear aids.
  • Increase your horse’s obedience and flexibility.

The training exercises seem simple, but are quite difficult if you do them properly. Make sure that you are in the correct position and applying the correct aids. This includes:

  • Keep your hands as still as possible. Hold a neck strap if you need to, in order to neutralize your hands.
  • Look in the direction you are going to help get the turn you need.
  • Use your legs to help turn and maintain impulsion. The outside leg must be back and turn the horse. The inside leg must drive the horse forward. Keep your legs long and out take them out of the stirrups if you can.

Exercise 1

  1. Walk your horse in a figure of 8 over a show jumping pole on the ground
  2. Ensure that you cross the pole in the centre
  3. If your horse is young or not supple keep the circle large
  4. Else, make your circles as small as you can
  5. Identify which front leg is going over the pole without looking down.

Tips:

  1. Is one circle larger than the other? Is this the result of the horse’s stiffness or are you giving the aids differently on different sides?
  2. Are you leaning in or are you maintaining or balance?
  3. You should not be using your hands for the exercise. Your inside rein should be soft. You should be using your legs to turn your horse.

Exercise 2: Semi serpentine over a pole

  1. Do a shallow serpentine over a jumping pole one the ground.
  2. As your horse has walked stepped over the first part of the pole, use your legs to get your horse to step back over the pole
  3. Do the exercise again and again on each rein.
  4. Try and come back to the pole in the shorted turn possible. Remember to turn using your legs and eyes and not your hands.
  5. Are you able to tell when each leg is going over the pole? Are you able to control each leg?

(See the same tips and instructions for the exercise above).

“The blog is the personal opinion and views of the author. It contains general information and may contain inaccuracies. You should always seek the advice of a professional horse riding instructor on your own specific situation and circumstances.”

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