Exercise 4 - Canter poles and fences on the flat
The purpose of this exercise is to teach the horse to be relaxed around the poles and fences without the pressure of jumping.
These poles are 3metres apart but they can be any distance you wish.
They don’t have to be evenly spaced as long as you work the same on each rein.
By working on flatwork exercises your horse will learn to work rhythmically around fences rather than focus on them.
You are working on rhythm, suppleness and contact.
These are the first three scales of training
You are training them to listen to you rather than focusing on the fences or poles.
As a result of this their balance will improve which will help their confidence whilst jumping.
It is important to do the same as the first video in this series and work with transitions between and around them.
Other variations of the set up are:
Put wings on these poles
Have fences around the arena
Have scattered poles around the arena
Your sessions could be with just one of the above or a mixture of them. As long as the horse is working around them.
When doing your transitions to halt do NOT halt facing a fence or pole as this may encourage them to stop in the future.
Halt either parallel to them or just past them. Give yourself particular points where you want to halt or do a transition so you have a focus.
In this video I am working with a 17.2 hh horse so you can see that it is hard work with the poles at this distance. Next time I do this exercise with this horse I would widen the poles so that he is not so collected and therefore the relaxation would improve.
Another way to perform this exercise is to put up pairs of wings around the arena without any poles and ride through and around them
This exercise can be done in all three paces, walk, trot and canter.
Build it into a flat work session so warm them up first and then progress through your session.