Have you been working on your head-to-the-wall leg yield? Has your horse become more supple and sensitive to your leg?
This week we're going to take a look at an exercise that is just plain fun!
Canter poles help develop suspension or jump in the canter. They are also excellent for reminding a dressage horse to watch were she's putting her feet!
For this exercise we will use a simple 20 meter circle with two equally spaced canter poles. There are all sorts of configurations for canter poles, when you become comfortable with this configuration I encourage you to get creative with your canter pole placement. Just remember to take your horse's stride length into consideration when setting your poles.
To ride this exercise canter around the 20 meter circle aiming for the center of each pole. The challenge lies in maintaining a rhythmical canter and proper positioning (bend) of the horse. Just remember to stay relaxed. If your horse rushes the poles do a downward transition before a pole, cross the pole at the walk or trot, then canter to the next pole. Repeat until your horse canters calmly to each pole.
I love canter poles! I find them fun and super relaxing. I also enjoy the diversion from plain ol' flat work. I'm not the only one who values the canter pole. Last month while at a Conrad Schumacher clinic I heard Conrad himself say "I love the canter pole! It opens the horses back as well as his mind."
Happy riding! - Erin