I have been working with both of my horses a lot over the past few weeks. Mostly because of my own personal challenge, but also in part because of the opportunity to win a free saddle from Arena Saddles in conjunction with Heels Down Mag. It’s as if their contest was timed up with my challenge, so it’s perfect!
If you have no idea of what I am talking about, check out this blog post, I tell you how you can have a chance to win your very own Arena Saddle. You still have time, the contest runs through September 6, 2019.
But back to today’s post!
More Ground Pole Work
After the down pouring rain destroyed my arena, the first thing I had to do yesterday was re-groom my arena.
There were some serious ruts, and the footing was hard and literally crunchy. You can see some of Frisby’s hoof prints from when I lunged him a little bit and decided against it because of the footing.
So bright and early Saturday morning, after cleaning the barn, filling hay nets, and getting hay from the feed store, I decided to get the ground in good shape.
After about an hour of working circles, the arena was MUCH better. I really do need to bring in some new sand which would make the arena better. But for now I just spend a lot of time on our tractor making the most of what I currently have.
Setting Up Poles
My arena may look big, but when I go about setting up a lot of ground pole exercises, I run out of space fast. So I try and limit my exercises to 3 or 4. And depending on the exercises, I don’t have enough poles either! I know, shocker right!?? So I have to choose which exercises to do carefully.
But here are a few I set up for my boys and I to school over.
A Single Pole
If you have 1 pole, you can do a lot of different things over it. You could go over the center in both directions. Or you could do a figure of eight and use the pole as the center for your change of direction. You could use this as the center for a circle.
So many different things you can do with a single pole.
4 Pole Exercise
If you have 4 poles you can lay out, this one is really fun. I keep the poles pretty far from center, so I can lunge my horses over the poles, and I stay in the center. Or you can use this as a guide to craft a perfect circle, just stay to the outside of the poles. You can do a cloverleaf over and through the poles. Or simply have your horse walk or trot over the center of each pole.
I promise, it’s a lot more challenging than it sounds!
5 Pole Exercise
I like the way this looks, kind of like a stick figure man without a head. But this one is fun because you can go over the outer poles in different directions, and then come back to the center pole. Again, you can work on perfecting a circle by staying to the outside of the rails. Or go over one side in one direction, then come over the center and go the other direction over the other 2 poles.
Limitless! That is what this exercises provides. So many exercises with 5 poles! I could literally set this one exercise up and try to come up with new things to work on.
Ground Poles From The Ground
I started my exercises with Ethan. I am hoping to get in the saddle with him soon, but I have to make sure his hoof is ok first. Thankfully, the farrier is coming Tuesday. So hopefully, I will get the all clear to ride him.
But for right now, I am only walking him, and only for a limited amount of time. So he got to play with the poles first. And he did really good! He has become so calm lately.
He is doing what I ask of him without being flighty, or bracing himself. It has taken a coupe of years for me to really understand how to ‘get’ him, but I think I am finally there.
And walking over the poles really isn’t too much of a challenge. But this is a really good way to get him engaged, and paying attention to what I am asking of him without being on his back. He also has to lift his feet a little bit, which is a good thing.
Ground Poles Under Saddle
Now this is where it gets a little more challenging. Anyone can walk over ground poles on the ground. But getting your horse to do what you want, in the saddle, well that is a completely different animal!
Going over one pole on the straightaway is pretty simple. But when you start to do a pattern, well that’s where it can fall apart. Even at the walk.
And then doing it at the trot? Talk about challenging! Ground poles IS a great work out for both you and your horse.
One way to keep it simple when doing ground poles at the trot is to start with a straight line of poles. It is easier to get the feel of the poles, and how much momentum that your horse will get, and it’s just plain fun.
And if you want a little more of a challenge, and really encourage your horse to lift his feet, raise one end of the rail. That is REALLY fun!
Challenge Day 18 More Ground Pole Work
SO that is it for the 18th day in the challenge for me. Overall, it was a fantastic day of work for myself as well as my horses. I left the poles out in the arena for today’s work, which will be tomorrows post. And I think we are going to do a little bareback work. This is something I should do more often, but don’t.
We shall see how it goes! And if you want to find out, be sure to sign up on my email list, and that way you will be notified every time I have a new post come out. So until tomorrow, happy riding!