This exercise goes back to my post “A Breakthrough In Dressage!” I mentioned an exercise that helped me get Cash really going so I’m here to explain what it is. Its actually ridiculously simple and something that helps me on multiple fronts.
To set up depends on the length of your arena but I’m going off the area at my barn which is on the smaller size. Like the picture above( sorry not the best picture quality), simply put a pole running straight from A to C down the centerline approximately where the crest of your 20 meter circle would be if doing a 20 meter at both A and C.
Having the ground poles like this really helps so many simple things. It’s a great visual for using the center of the pole to do correct 20 meter circles. You can also split your arena into sections and ride serpentines making sure to hit each pole on a flowing curving line. I find serpentines really help work on suppleness and balance with a horse as you go through them. I quickly find my horses weaker side when doing serpentines!
You can add poles and take away poles depnding on the length of your arena and what you’re currently working on. In the picture I was using the ground poles to help me gauge 20 meter circles and also some larger serpentines to keep Cash’s attention when he started to zone out on me during the warm up.
Another wonderful thing I have seen people do with ground poles like this is work on flying changing or picking up correct canter leads. Depending on the horse you have and how they respond to it you may have to make it into a slightly raised cavaletti but I’ve seen people have amazing successes with it. It really helps a horse get that hop that is needed for the flying change.
While I have to constantly keep things interesting for Cash especially it helps mix things up for Jack as well because who wants to ride the same monotonous circles each time in the ring??? This exercise is super quick to set up and use a variety of ways when time is a constraint or just working on ground work and basics is the name of the game.
Below is a quick digital look at what those poles should look like. Again adjust them to your arena. Ideally you can have it set when you do a Circle at A you hit one pole, a Circle at B/E you hit both poles and at C you only hit one pole. Its not always possible and depending on the arena you may not be able to ride the center of the pole to accomplish it but I still love the exercise!
I know its a relativly short/late post today but I hope you all have enjoyed it! I have lots more coming your way soon!