From: Horse Training
Horse Training - Pole Work
Pole work can be used for a number of different reasons to help horses on the flat and also as a progression towards jumping.
Poles are made of wood or plastic. They are approximately ten to twelve feet long and 5 inches in diameter. You can use anything from one to ten poles at any one time it just depends on the exercise being done. Poles can be ridden over in walk, trot and canter and they help the horse to maintain balance, rhythm and energy throughout the exercise.
When first introducing your horse to poles, start off with a single pole approached in walk with a straight approach and get away, when the horse is walking over it correctly then you can proceed with trot and canter. Now it is time to ride over three poles in walk then in trot and canter remembering to increase the distance in between the poles as you change pace.
Poles For Flatwork
They are used in walk, trot and canter and help the horse to maintain a balanced, rhythmic pace with plenty of energy and flexion from the horses hindquarters. When placed close together they encourage the horse to shorten and collect the pace and if placed further apart they encourage the horse push from their hindquarters to open out and lengthen the frame of the horse.
Pole work also adds an element of interest to the horses training session and can help them to concentrate as well.
Exercises For Flatwork
Pole work For Jumping
Poles are used to help the horse approach the fence with balance and control, they can also be used to encourage the horse to place the exact number of strides between fences and to encourage the horse to land on the correct canter lead. If a placing pole is slightly raised a few inches it will also aid in the energy and activity of the pace, therefore helping the horse to really activate their hindquarters.
A placing pole is a pole that is positioned before a jump at a set distance that will encourage the horse to take off in the correct place. Placing poles, when positioned in a row before the fence will help to prevent the horse from rushing towards the fence and can help to make them concentrate after the fence as well.
When poles are made into jumps they must always be resting in jump cups which attach to the jump wings. Jump cups can be either a deep semi circle or a shallow one, the more shallow they are the easier they are to knock down.
A ground pole is one that lies directly under the jump on the side it is being jumped from and gives the horse a base line in which to judge the bottom of the fence from.
Exercises For Jumping
On average a horse will canter 3.65 meters with every canter stride and you need to allow approximately 1.9 for take off and 1.9 for landing when jumping from canter.
The distance in between poles on average is: