Adjust Your Striding using polework and fences 

Polework/Jumping exercises

Using poles and fences to adjust striding is very popular and a favourite exercises for many who want to challenge themselves and have fun. 

Katy training article

1. Set 2 fences out in a straight line; stride the fences between 6 and 10 strides apart. 
No less than 6 as it can become tricky to change striding if they are too close together.
When you’re striding your fences, remember that you need 2 human strides for a landing, 4 human strides to 1 horse stride and 2 human strides for a take-off. 

2. Start the fences low and ride your horse through the line on a natural canter. We will go with 6 strides. 
Ride the line a couple of times so you and your horse both feel comfortable with the line and the striding. 

3. Next, aim to put 7 strides in. You should prepare before the fences, with a shorter stride, choppier and bouncier canter. Try to ride the line of fences as relaxed and easily as you can and aim to make each stride the same length. 

4. Once you have become comfortable with 7 strides, try 8. Remember to aim to make this a comfortable 8. You don’t want to end up pulling and fighting with the horse. 
Prepare your canter before arriving to the fences and make each stride the same length. 

5. When you are comfortable with shortening the stride open your horse up a bit again and start on 6 strides again, nice and natural.

6. When your horse is comfortable with this, it is time to try to aim for 5. 
It is really important to not land from the first fence, panic and kick. The same rule applies as for shortening. You need to prepare your canter before arriving at the fences and persuade your horse into a bigger stride. You’re not aiming for a faster stride, you’re aiming for a bigger stride.

7. Once you have got the hang of 5 strides you can try 4 strides, but don’t go for any less than this. 

Want to make it more challenging?  

If you’re feeling really confident doing the above exercise then apply some of the below to make things a bit more challenging. 

1. Put your fences on a dogs leg, so you have to change your stride and turn your horse. 

2. Raise the fences. Don’t go too high as you will need to leave room for error for both you and your horse, remeber it is easier than you think to scare your horse. 

Try some of these exercises out with your friends, have fun and see how quickly the competitive spitit comes out as you all try to get more and less strides than yourr friends.

Please remember to warm up and cool down your horse properly when exercising. 

Read more great flatwork tips and exercises and improve your riding Click here