We’ve put together our top 5 pole work exercises, from our Yaris Equestrian riders, for you to try this Easter Weekend!
The outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown has impacted industries worldwide, and the Equestrian industry is no exception. The coming 2020 calendar of eventing, showjumping, dressage, polo and any other discipline you can think of has been cancelled without rescheduling. Equestrians everywhere, on every level, have been deeply affected by the spread of the virus, as we enter week three of lockdown in the UK.
However, it has been incredibly heartwarming to see so many businesses and individuals in our community pull together in unity. The support for British business has been fantastic, and if there’s one thing that equestrians do best – its keep calm and kick one!
This Easter Weekend will be very different – from what is usually full of competitions, long hacks, and beach rides. It is important that we avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the NHS when possible, so we have put together our top 4 pole work exercises, to keep you and your horse busy this weekend. You can complete this pole work exercises on the ground while lunging, so they are perfect for those who have decided to avoid riding regularly for now – remember that it’s important to stay safe and exercise sensible judgement at this time.
The Square Pole Exercise
This exercise is great fun and can be done on the lunge or in the saddle! Eventer, Robyn Bowness, shows us how versatile this one can be in this video on our YouTube channel. Start with four poles in the middle of your arena or surface and place them so that you make a square. Next, add two trot poles either side of the square on the centreline, one stride apart, as Robyn shows us in the video. To keep it simple just take away the poles either side and stick with the square, or make it more complex by adding more poles either side down the centre line.
S-shaped poles are a great exercise to practise accuracy, suppleness and bend – inspired by Honor Redhouse’s training takeover HERE. Space your trotting poles out as normal and shape them so that they follow the shape of the letter S, following a curve. Your horse will really have to think about this one as he works his or her way through the poles, encouraging the use of the whole body when moving.
This is an exercise that Hannah Fleming showed us in her training takeover! You can complete this exercise in walk, trot or canter… it’s up to you. Place the poles as normal in your arena or field (one stride for trot, three for canter) and then move them outwards on alternative sides to create a zig-zag pattern. If you’re not sure about this one, check out Hannah’s video HERE. Similarly to the S shapes poles exercise, this one is great to encourage your horse to really think and use their brains, pick up their feet and use their whole body.
The One Pole Challenge
This is a super fun exercise to try on the ground – it may look simple but this one is deceiving and requires accurate communication between you and your horse! Place a single pole down and try to walk your horse over it from the bottom end to the top with two feet, front and back, either side parallel to the pole. Making sure that the pole stays underneath your horse and in between their feet, lead them along the length of the pole, keeping their legs either side and the pole directly underneath their tummy until they reach the end of the pole successfully! It’s a tricky one, but you’ll feel accomplished when you nail it – don’t forget to tag us in your videos and photos!
The NHS Pole Work Challenge
You may have seen this one around recently – just a little exercise to raise awareness for our spectacular NHS workers! Spell out NHS with 11 poles, placing them in the centre of the arena. Work your way in and out of the poles in trot, there are so many ways to do this exercise, all while keeping four feet on the ground and not jumping or hacking. Stay safe and enjoy – if you’re not sure about this one, check out this video HERE.
We hope that these pole work exercises have given you some inspiration for this weekend, enjoy what time you can with your horses and remember to stay safe and stay 2m apart from others.