Why ride zig-zag canter poles?

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.

IMG_20171201_1605220

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!

19 Comments Add yours

  1. Megala says:

    Wow! This is amazing, and it seems to be really a difficult exercise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is a tricky one. Thanks for commenting

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Emma Cownie says:

    Well, I’m impressed that you followed the dotted lines and went over those poles!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      HaHA! Yes I wish there were dotted lines on the arena floor. That would be one less thing to think about. Thanks Emma your comment made me smile and smiles are always needed!😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. dprastka says:

    Ooh, that looks really hard! I’ve never done this exercise before. He is so handy, and it was fun to see you on video performing them. Really makes you and him think! I know there are a lot exercises out there to keep us horse back riders practicing. Love seeing you and Biasini together! ❤️🐴

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks Diana. I’m glad you enjoyed watching the exercise. 🐎🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Michele Lee says:

    I enjoyed watching the clips. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed them. Thank you for taking the time to have a look at them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You, and Biasini are a perfect pair 😍

    Liked by 3 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Ah! Thanks you Susie. I think we get on well. He is a wonderful horse 🐎

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It is amazing how compact a highly trained horse can get! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are most welcome. He can be very compact. That’s the experience with doing dressage pirouettes! I appreciate you taking the time to watch and to comment!

      Like

  7. Klausbernd says:

    Dear Anne
    Interesting. It’s a world for us we don’t know. And is great to get confronted with the unknown. Thank you very much.
    All the best.
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are most welcome thanks to you for taking an interest in it!

      Like

  8. Can understand the video with the drawing, good to watch

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Subbashini! I have missed seeing you on your blog for a bit. Nice to see you back again.

      Like

  9. David says:

    Flatwork exercises, the essential for any equestrian, regardless of discipline. My daughters ride zig-zag exercises, slalom exercises, turning exercises, grid exercises, circle exercises, and cavaletti exercises. Probably a few more, and low jumps. It’s a lot of work, but essential to compete at a high level.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Absolutely essential. For us pole work is a good change of pace and it is also very good for our dressage work.

      Liked by 1 person

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