This simple exercise uses a fan of poles to encourage your horse to go forward in a balanced rhythm, without falling in or escaping out through the shoulder when going round corners. By progressing to canter and eventually a small jump your, horse’s suppleness will increase.
Place a fan of poles anywhere in the arena, ensuring that you can ride a straight line towards the fan and away at a right angle (see diagram). If you have coloured poles, select the same block of colour on all three poles to ensure you stay on the same curved line.
- Ride over the fan towards the outer edge of the poles. Do this in trot.
- Now ride a path over the inner line of the fan.
This will help shorten the stride and encourage your horse to use his hocks. You must maintain the rhythm and keep the same line over all three poles.
When working well in trot on both reins, try moving up into canter.
- Widen the poles to around 11ft6in.
- Again, work over both the outer and inner edges of the poles.
By working on the inner line you are shortening you horses stride from his hind end. It is very important to hold your line and rhythm as this will lead to more engagement. Failure to keep your line leads to your horse falling out through his shoulder and defeats the object of the exercise.
- When your horse is confident, raise the middle pole and make a small jump.
- Keeping an even stride, move with increased impulsion around the corner and ride the exercise.
What can go wrong?
If you do not follow your line, your horse can escape through the shoulder or fall inside the fan of poles. If you or you horse lose confidence, go back to trot and start again.
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