This looks like such a simple exercise. Four canter poles laid out on the center line of the arena in a zig zag pattern . Here is a photo of the poles and how you ride them in a series of roll backs.
A few years ago, when I was recovering from a surgery, I had Lynsey Rowan ride Biasini in this exercise. She said it was quite difficult. Well …..she was right! I decided on Sunday, knowing that the arena would be free, that I would give it a go. My husband came with me to help with the poles and to take video. I did the exercise in two ways. First canter over the pole, flying change, circle . Here is a video. You can see I am not clear in asking for the first flying change and Biasini is a bit confused but he does the best he can with the change. You can hear me saying “stop” at the end . That is just to let my husband know he can stop videoing.
The second way of doing these poles is to canter over the pole, walk, then pick up the new canter lead and ride the circle. Here is a video.
What were my difficulties? I was so busy thinking about the circles and the poles that I did not have Biasini moving in his best canter . Also as I rode to the pole I would ride him forward, and then it was difficult to reorganize him for the transitions to walk.
Why do this exercise? You have to think fast! If you have a horse that is handy that is a big plus. Dressage horses trained to Biasini’s level are handy because we do a lot of tight moves on a regular basis. But adding in the poles gives the exercise an extra dimension of difficulty. I was riding in loose ring Verbinden snaffle for this exercise. It’s a tough exercise but well worth doing!