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Old 08-06-2011, 10:41 PM  
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What do you do with ground poles

any ideas on ground pole configurations and exercises for horse and rider? How far apart should they be spaced?
Is PVC okay to use or wood?
What diameter and length is good?
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Old 08-06-2011, 11:07 PM  
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Usually the 4in diameter wood or pvc is fine.. I've used both.. but.. pvc is pretty lightweight and got kicked around and moved more. The wood poles were more stable and easier to use for the most part. If you use pvc I'd put some sand or something in them to give them more weight. As far as distance it depends what you are doing with them. If you are using them while lunging, trotting, cantering.. they are all going to be different distances. I know someone on here will know what they are for trotting and cantering. As far as length.. I usually do 6ft.. shorter and it is too easy for them to try to "scoot out to the sides" and avoid them.
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Old 08-06-2011, 11:21 PM  
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You want ground poles heavy enough so that a horse respects them, and tries not to hit them. PCV is not suitable
How far you space them apart depends on what you are doing, Jog overs are spaced at 3', lope overs at 6 to 7 '.
You can also make a back through, a box where your horse executes a 360 and any number of configurations
Some trail course designs will give you ideas
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Old 08-07-2011, 05:53 AM  
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Another exercise I've seen at our barn is to just put down two poles as if they were a fence. Then practice sidling the horse up to the "gate" and then away without stepping on or over the pole.
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Old 08-07-2011, 06:54 AM  
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I have used pvc for years, and moved them around myself , I keep 10 of them in my arena.
make a box and than make the box smaller and smaller, for turning both ways, either on the hind or fore.

also space them in a line, and have horse and rider go in the spaces or over the poles, like pole bending.
us in a circle for walk, trot. either on a lunge or with a rider, also with a jump pole last or first.
just used your imagination,
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:10 AM  
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My ground poles prepare my horse for trail classes, where a tick is a fault.
Many trainers will even use railway ties , so that a horse will respect those poles and not tick them
You don't want poles that roll, esp in lope overs.
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Old 08-07-2011, 03:13 PM  
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"The other risk with PVC poles is when the weather gets colder they risk shattering. You can make the heavier by filling with sand and capping them though.

I like landscape ties as they are flat on two sides, and rounded on the other two; this keeps them from rolling, yet there aren't any super sharp edges.

How you use them depends on what you are trying to do. They are very versatile! I use them elevated to get the horse to use its back; I start with them spaced so they are easy for the horse to trot over (usually 4.5'), then make them futher apart or closer to work on impulsion or collection. For more advanced work I raise them up to about 6".

For canter work I space the poles at about 9' for a regular canter.

For working on steering, or for horses that get nervous and loose focus, I place poles at random in the arena, and make a little course of single poles to navigate.

I also put poles out like spokes on a circle to help perfect circling.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:15 PM  
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I like those square landscaping ties also as rails, but I often ride at an arena that also has jumping lessons, so I just use those jumping rails that are already there.
Loping over rails in a spoke configuration is pretty advanced trail skills
You can make some basic trail obstacles, like an L back through. you can make a walk over with a rail placed at an angle over the walk over rails, so that the horse has to take the correct sequence of steps and step with the correct foot between the rails
If you set up an L backthrough, you can then side pass the outside rail of the L in both directions
You can set up a series of cones with a rail between two of them, then jog through the cones, leg yielding, and practice approaching the rail correctly so the jog continues to flow smoothly
Teach your horse to look at the rails , watch his feet and avoid any tics.
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