My dad is making some jump standards and is getting some poles for us soon; however, the poles are going to be a thick hollow plastic instead of wood because we can't seem to find them anywhere. What I want to know is: what kind of exercises can I do with my horse with these. I ride western so I won't be doing any jumping but I figured I could put the poles on the lowest level and walk/ trot over them. Will using them help my horse strengthen his back and round up?
I'll let more educated people answer the details about how the horse moves (I'm interested to hear their opinions).
But I'm not a fan of using plastic ground poles, I've seen horses step on them and crash them, injuring their legs. They also roll a LOT more than you would want, with gentle taps.
I use wood fence posts (about $8 at home depot) they're round on two sides and flat on two, so it'll roll enough to fall but not keep rolling and trip everyone up. They're solid so they won't break or injure anyone.
That's just my 2 cents :)
I think the poles punkstank is speaking od are landscaping poles? They are round. But my preference are square poles, and if I feel up to it, round the corners so they are sharp so that I still get my flat base and no rolling. >)
A fun exercise you can do, to help with leading/leading presentation and the like, is to have your horse wait a ew feet from the line of poles. I start with a walk at first. We walk to the poles, and as we are walking, I tell them to "pick it up!" Cuing them to pick up their feet as we are going over obstacles.
Now once that is good, we do a jog in hand. I make my start to jog in hand -really- apparent. I kind of do a jump, and do something like knee highs to make it apparent that I'm jogging. I don't go faster than my horse, I stay right by their shoulder, hence the knee high exercise (plus it helps me to pick up my own feet over the poles). I keep the horse in the jog by clucking, but if they aren't keeping to the jog, I swing the rope back to their flank. Really helps to have a long rope.
If that doesn't work, I actually kick them as a last resort to get them moving as part of my "demand". Nothing hard, I just swing my leg a little after I pick it up. Brown horse used to be very stubborn at this, and it only took once for him to get the idea.
Anyway. As I'm jogging and have my ample length as a start, once I get to the poles I once again say "pick it up!". Don't lose your energy! Your energy is what helps to keep the horse going and they might lose their jog because of the poles. But keep practicing and you and the horse will be masters. : )
Thanks Deschutes, I will try that. As for the plastic ground poles, we wanted to get round wood poles but we can't find them anywhere. We've asked other people where they've got theirs but they couldn't answer that question either. If we can get wood ones we will but until then I guess we'll have to make the plastic ones work.
How far apart should the poles be for walk and trot?