16 Oct

So, what are pole work exercises for horses you ask? Pole work is one of the most difficult horse exercises out there because it requires both finesse and strength. In the simplest of terms, pole work means to have your horse  walk/run/sprint over and through a series of hurdles, usually set up by your trainer. The poles are then laid out on a specially designed platform, usually level, so that your horse can pass safely over or around the poles without striking them Click here for more about the arrangement.

One of the most important things to know about in hand pole work exercises for horses is that the distances between the poles should never be too far apart. If they are, your horse will tire very easily and may even collapse. If you start out with a distance of six inches, take your time and build up the distances accordingly - having your horses walk or run through these exercises as slowly and limber as possible. Remember not to let the horses drag the ropes, as this will teach them very bad habits!

Another very important aspect of pole work exercises for horses is that the horse must be well balanced, so that he does not fall over. They also need to be able to move their feet freely without making any unusual sounds or splashing water. You need to ride with your hands free, so that you can see the horses and keep a good eye on their welfare. If you have a good pair of sweat pants with you, it is much easier to check the horse's condition and if necessary bring him in for a check-up at the  Elaine Heney Horses

Before starting off with pole work, the riders should warm up their bodies with a long, leisurely walk on a field, using only a speed of three beats per minute. This will help to ease their body into the saddle and prevent muscle tension. It is advisable to take a break in between the walks. The physio may decide to have the horses ridden by a professional trainer, as some horses may react better to professional coaching. The professional will be able to advise the rider on the best gear to be worn, especially for younger horses who may be less confident in the saddle. The saddle chosen by the trainer will be selected by the rider for the purpose of comfort and ease of movement, depending on how well the horse learns to trot and gallop.

Pole work can be performed in many different disciplines, such as show jumping, endurance, reining, or jumping. Some trainers prefer to include a trot and bend training in the program. These two exercises, combined with work on the flat, are excellent for developing the horse's walking, turning, and jumping skills. In the case of jumpers, this includes an essential part of the exercise, called the 'hot' jump. This is a jump where the horse is turned round and the hooves are planted firmly on the floor. If you want to know more about this topic, then click here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_horsemanship

Good saddle fitters will have access to the latest technology, including GPS devices which show the rider the distance and direction of the jog in real time. These devices also indicate the distance, speed, and direction of each step. The horse can be pre-riding on one of the modern GPS mounts, without having to be saddled, before being fitted in the trainer's saddle.

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