Exercise 4 POLE PLAY
Pole work helps a cob achieve better hock action and athleticism. It’s something for them to concentrate on if they get distracted easily, too. Ideally, add pole work into your horse’s work twice a week.
How to ride it
l1 Place four poles on the centre line of your arena between 4.5ft and 5ft apart (depending on the length of your horse’s stride). l2 Go large in working trot around your arena, maintaining straightness and forwardness. l3 When you’re ready to ride over the poles, prepare for the turn on to the centre line before you get there. It needs to be balanced and your horse needs to be in the direct line of the poles — you don’t want him to have to ‘wiggle’ to get there. Your outside leg will be important here to help him balance. l4 Keeping the forwardness, ride straight through the line of poles, aiming for the centre of each one. l5 He needs to stay straight throughout, not drifting to one side. l6 Once you’re through, think about the turn you’re going to make at the end of the centre line. Which way are you going and how will you set him up for this? l7 Ride through the poles one more time before changing the rein and repeating the exercise again. l8 Once your horse is confident, you can raise the poles onto small blocks — either at both ends or just one — to encourage him to lift his legs even more.