Thursday, March 27, 2014

Arena Exercises

Every once in a while, it pays off to ride with someone who rides a different discipline.  The majority of the people at my barn ride Western (90%), but there are about 4 of us who ride English.  My friend has a young dun quarter horse that she is running barrels on.  We happened to be riding at the same time last weekend, and she had been researching simple exercises for her barrel horse.  She does a really good idea of researching for ideas online.

Since I am working on similar objectives with Scottie (bending, suppleness, driving from behind), I asked her if I could work through her exercises with her.  It was actually a fun, simple, yet challenging ride.  I will definately use this exercise again.

The concept is simple: 4 ground poles in the arena.  While some of these exercises are meant to be done at a canter/lope, I did them all at a trot (obviously no flying lead changes).  My friend and I also made our circle bigger to make them a little easier.  For being basically a track-broke TB, Scottie did surprisingly well.   My friend did all exercises at a lope.

Although these exercises seem very rudimentary/simple (which they area...), they really did make both the horses and riders think about execution and correctness.  It was an easy way to pass a 35-45 minute ride.  I run out of ideas quickly with a green horse (you can only do so many trot poles and walk-trot transitions), so I am always looking for patterns to work on.   Plus this is an exercise that can be modified/expanded upon as Scottie and I progress.

Follow the link below for 7 exercises to do with only 4 ground poles in the arena.

Seven Exercises with 4 Ground Poles


  1. It was fun! Reading the blog for the first time during "desk lunch", and I LOVE it. I'm realizing how many things I take for granted with Spot's similar personality not being phased by "scary" things. So good to read and see progress in person. Rode the poles again yesterday: not as fun but the workout results were completely different the second time around!

  2. Thanks Megan! I'll bring the 101 jumping exercises out to the barn for spot soon ;)