Start on Poles

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Start on Poles

This is a discussion on Start on Poles within the Barrel Racing forums, part of the Western Riding category

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    10-23-2012, 03:15 PM
Start on Poles

What is the best way to start a horse on poles. We've had this mare for a year and since my mare is not a poles horse my barn owner has allowed me to start one of his on poles. But what is the best way for her and what should she have down before I start. She can side pass, roll back, hell, she can sliding stop lol.

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    10-23-2012, 03:26 PM
If he's got all the buttons, it shouldn't be too incredibly hard. My mare is a reiner, she has every button imagineable, but I expected poles to come awfully hard for her. I normally spend a lot of time with a green horse pushing them over between the poles, exagerating the "move over", because once you get running it will tighten up. It's kind of ahrd for me to explain everything over the internet, but have you done much gaming or speed events before? The dynamics are the same...Approach, rate, turn, etc. It's just adding the weave.
    10-23-2012, 03:31 PM
Yep I've done all that before I just wanted to see everyone's opinions on how they've started their pole horses. She and I will be starting tomorrow so Im just trying to get some insight. (:

By "exaggerating the move over" do you mean I should push her farther to the left/right of each pole?
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    10-23-2012, 03:33 PM
Yes. I push them farther over then I would during a run at the walk/trot, then when you get loping and running it tightens up.
    10-23-2012, 03:34 PM
Oh I understand, okay!
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    10-23-2012, 04:30 PM
Exactly as SorrelHorse.

At a walk and trot...

I sidepass inbetween the poles, I mean REALLY sidepass. I'll go 20 feet over because once you start adding speed, they take advantage and will cut close.

At the ends, I go past a little ways, ask for a big whoa, rollback and then back to sidepassing through my weave.

When I canter, my horses already know the pattern. So I focus more on the ends and turning. Again, big whoa, and rollback. At the ends I'll do some spin work as well to keep them on their toes and get them using their hindend.
    10-23-2012, 04:43 PM
A cheap $25 bucks if you consider the lifetime of the pole horse.

19sec Pole Bending Book - The Tack Stop

Great book. I have one at home too. Which reminds me I should refresh my memory and take a glance through it again.

Same thing the other two have said. Your horse should already know how to side pass and already know (at least) how to do simple lead changes. Between each pole, really exaggerate and side pass the horse in-between weaves.

This short video clip shows a good pattern to follow. I personally will exagerate the side passing even more, going through the middle.

I also want to mention that you always need to tip the horse's nose toward the pole when you are asking for bend around the pole in the weave, using your inside (pole) leg to create the bend. NEVER try to pull your horse's head away from the pole, because if you add speed and do that, they will shoulder into the pole and knock it.

In general, I try to keep my hands off as much as I can, and use lots of leg to cue them through the weaves and, eventually, through flying lead changes through the poles.
SorrelHorse likes this.
    10-23-2012, 04:49 PM
Green Broke
Agree with all above! Glad I don't have to type anything out lol I'm in my lazy typing mood today.
    10-23-2012, 05:27 PM
All of the above. I found with my horses going back and really taking my time at the end poles helped. I would go around them like I do a barrel - stop them coming into the turn, really round them up and go around maybe 2 or 3 times on the end pole till they got it. By the time I got to loping the pattern they would know to rate at those end poles just by me saying "easy." And remember you cannot do too much slow work. The more solid it is at a walk and trot the quicker they learn to go faster. I had a mare that trotted the pattern for 4 months till one day she was fighting me so much I just let her run, she didn't take a step out of place.
beau159 likes this.
    10-23-2012, 05:41 PM
Green Broke
Okay this isn't even my thread but that video, in as short as it was, helped me A LOT..even with my finished mare.
Gotta go practice what I learned now!
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