Pole Exercise of the Month ~ September
Straightness. I don't actually think I need to say anything more than that. We ALL need something to help us think about getting our horse straight. And of course, every rider knows that half the battle of getting your horse straight is just getting yourSELF straight.
This little pole exercise can be done with four, six, or eight poles. The length of the poles doesn't necessarily matter. Notice that the arrows in this exercise point in both directions.
As you can imagine, it's quite a bit easier to be naturally funneled into the straight position. Right? Our eye goes directly to the middle where the point of the arrow is. As our eye is drawn to this focal point, the poles funnel us in as if they were the wings on either side of a jump. As you're doing this exercise, pay attention to how your body is positioned as you go into the arrows. Where are your hips and shoulders? Are you depending on the pole formation to get your horse in the middle or can you do it with your body?
Want to see just how straight you are? Try the arrows from the opposite side. Ride toward the points and see where your aids send your horse. an you stay right on the point? Or are you drifting off to one side? Practice this exercise in both directions at the walk, trot, and then if you're feeling ambitious, try cantering it.
This exercise comes from Lina Zacha and Barbro Lagergren's "Creative Riding in the Arena". It can be found on page 96 of the spiral bound edition.