Pole work Part 1
Pole work can be very helpful for both horse and rider as it improves the rider’s feel and the horse’s gaits.
Pole work can be strenuous so be sure not to overdo it when training. Working your horse over poles can help them engage more with their hindquarters as well as increasing their rhythm. When you work your horse over poles they have to lift through their back in order to sustain the lift and energy required to get over the poles. For this reason I always try to work over at least 6 poles. By having 6 or more poles the horse really has to engage and lift to get over all of the poles.
Sending riders over poles also improves their seat and balance as the horse takes larger more forceful steps whilst engaging their hindquarters and back. Riders also have to control the horse over the poles in order to get the horse working well, rather than just dropping them over the poles. In some instances letting the horse work out the poles on their own is a helpful exercise, but this relaxing and letting the horse work it out for themselves has to be done consciously by the rider as opposed to just not helping the horse.
In part 2 I will go over some good exercises to use with your poles to encourage correct movement and improve both horse and rider.