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.