Develop your horse’s stride with vet physiotherapist Sammy Finnemore’s grid for improving extension and collection.

This is a challenging grid and you need to sit up and stay in balance throughout, even if your horse gets a bit wobbly — just go with him.

He has to figure his own way through and not rely on you too much. He may struggle at first, but repetition and staying calm will help.

Routes 1+6 (red and orange)

Start by simply walking in to the grid and the box area of the exercise. This asks your horse to consider where his feet are and develops bend and suppleness. Use your upper body and inside leg to turn him, not the reins. It will also help him to focus before you move on.

Route 2 (blue)

Next it’s time to trot through the straight lines. Choose the line with the working trot stride poles first as this shouldn’t challenge him too much.

Let him find his own way through with as little interference from you as possible, allowing him to stretch his head forward and down a little.

Route 3 (dark green)

Now move on to the medium trot and collected trot poles. Ride your horse to the grid in a good rhythm and then let the poles do the rest — you shouldn’t need to adjust his stride if the poles are placed at the correct distance. Be patient as he may knock a pole here and there, but he should soon get the hang of what he needs to do.

Routes 4+5+7 (purple, yellow and light green)

The curved lines through the grid come next. This route is a fantastic tool for developing your horse’s lateral flexion.

Don’t forget to help him through by turning your upper body and using your inside leg, particularly on the sharper turn. Maintain the rhythm throughout.

Watch this grid being ridden by several riders below: