Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southwestern Ontario, Canada
• Horses: 0
So I am going to assume this horse is a Standardbred since you said he was an ex-trotter? Has he had time to let down after being pulled off the track? Why was he pulled off the track?
Lots of Standardbreds, as well as Thoroughbreds, wear shadow rolls to prevent them from seeing shadows on the track, as there are normally a ton of lights, which make shadows off of the other light poles. I even heard of a TB horse jumping over the dark spots that the light poles created because they thought it was a hole.
It is very possible, since this horse has only recently been introduced to ring work, that he has never seen a trotting pole in his life and is wondering what the heck you are trying to get him to do. I think your best course of action would be to do some unmounted work with him around the poles. Walk him over them. Show him that they aren't scary at all. Change the distances up slightly so that he understands that he needs to step over them. Then trot him over them on a lunge, but space them far enough a part that he can take several steps in between. Once he is going over them, then go back to walking over them under the saddle...working your way up to a trot.
It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus