Are you guilty of being a bit predictable with your polework? The great thing about poles is their versatility – you can use them to practice your turns as well as straight lines.
World class eventer Sharon Hunt says: “I like to use exercises to help the rider understand and feel when their horse is going well. Then they can self-train and don’t need a coach with them all the time.”
Recognising when you’ve ridden a good turn is key to your success. Here she talks through a quick exercise to help you ride more accurate turns.
Trot poles on a square
Imagine a square or stout rectangle in your arena, and arrange two poles on two sides so that you approach and ride over two poles, then turn on two corners to head back to two more poles on the other side of the square. Make sure you warm up properly before starting the exercise.
In trot, start riding your square and trot over the poles.
The key to riding this exercise well is to pick four points to look at on your square so you ride accurately.
As you ride each corner, make sure you ask for a little inside bend from your horse.
Back this up with your outside leg to help turn your horse.
While doing this, don’t forget to look ahead and turn your upper body in the direction you’re going to ride in.
Maintain the rhythm of your trot throughout the movement.
Remember to ride from your leg into a consistent contact.
Once you’ve mastered the square in trot, move on to canter. Here your focus should be on maintaining the quality of the canter, and riding with a consistent contact.
If you find yourself leaning in on your turns, ride in a light seat. This makes you more aware of what your upper body is doing as you turn.
Read the full article in issue 448, available here.
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