I have a diagram copy of the above pole work exercise saved on my computer but I'm not sure where I originally saw it :(. (If it's yours or you know who it came from then please let me know!). I've neglected pole work with Pea a bit lately or tend to do the simple four in a row so I was looking at a new exercise to play around with and decided to give this a bit of a go. I've altered it slightly as if I copied the diagram exactly then the lengths weren't right for Pea so I've had to shorten them a bit, hence why the poles don't match up completely to look like two C's.
This is a really fun exercise as you can completely play around with it however you want depending on your horses ability and fitness levels. The diagram gives great ideas of using the outside two poles as canter poles, circles round them, bending exercises, etc but I mainly stuck to trotting them with Pea and mixing up various ways of approaching and using them to engage him.
Pea is quite stubborn (as I'm sure a lot of you may have realised!) and hates repetitive work. I can't school him two days in a row as he'll get bored and naughty, but adding poles gives him something else to think about. With the above exercise, I incorporated lots of circles and turns to really get him guessing as to what we were going to do next. The middle of the poles form four trotting poles, but as they are the meeting point, it's slightly more narrow so it's great for working on straightness as I've noticed Pea tends to drift sideways a lot.
I also used the end/side poles to work on straightness and carried out lots of figures of eights going from one side to the other to keep Pea bending and encourage more suppleness from him as he's currently being a bit tight bending to the left. The two poles at the side which are slight further apart from each other (either side of the middle four) are great for encouraging Pea to lengthen his stride a bit to meet them both on good strides as he tends to be a bit lazier with poles further apart and will stumble over them instead. These can also be used as canter poles but I felt they might have been a bit too short for Pea but if I lengthened them then the middle four would have been too much of a stretch!
I will definitely revisit this exercise time and time again as there's so many different ways you can play around with it and it's perfect for keeping Pea engaged and guessing what we're doing next.
Thanks for reading,