Zig Zag Poles

Here’s a little suppling exercise I did today, using a combination of poles and circles.

Beginning in walk, walk over the pole on the right, then walk a right hand circle. I worked on a fifteen metre circle as that is the smallest diameter that she can stay balanced on. From the circle, walk over the pole to the left of the first pole. Walk a left hand circle before walking over the pole adjacent to pole two before riding a right hand circle and finishing by riding over the most left hand pole.

The exercise can then be repeated in trot and eventually canter, with a flying change over each pole.

The aim of the exercise is to maintain the rhythm of the gait over each pole, and for the horse to step effortlessly over the pole without changing their stride length or posture, and for them to be able to easily change from left bend to right bend for each circle. The circles should begin to feel more even as the horse develops their suppleness.

You can identify the horse’s stiffer rein as they will drift out on the circle and be off centre as they go over the next pole. You can then work on the stiffer rein to help improve their flexibility before retrying the exercise.

You can progress to riding smaller circles, extending the zig zag of poles so there are more circles within the exercise, and then potentially raise them to cavaletti or small jumps.

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