5 Ground Pole Exercises to Add to Your Winter Routine

Dom walks out the distance for placement poles to help a rushing horse slow the canter. Photo by Rachael Walker. Dom walks out the distance for placement poles to help a rushing horse slow the canter. Photo by Rachael Walker.

With the official start to the off-season, it’s time to start thinking outside the box when it comes to your winter training routine. For those of us not fortunate to winter somewhere warmer, this involves a lot of time spent in the indoor and, therefore, a big potential for boredom.

Horses thrive on routine, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend your entire winter doing endless three-loop serpentines and 20 meter circles! We took the liberty of digging up some creative exercises that will throw some variety into the mix and keep your horse in top shape to come out swinging next season.

Evention TV is always a great resource for training tips, and we found this great episode featuring three cavaletti exercises that are easy to set up. Remember, ground pole and cavaletti work is a great way to exercise without putting a lot of stress on your horse’s body. It’s a win win!

Kate gave me an entire book full of ground pole exercises from Ingrid Klimke to borrow, and I seriously haven’t been able to put it down. This woman is a master of her craft, so there is a lot to learn from watching and reading her material. Here’s a great example of some cavaletti work — and the reasoning behind it.

And yet another masterful rider to learn from, Karen O’Connor. One important thing to keep in mind with your ground pole work is the improvement in your horse’s self-carriage, which is a very important part of the dressage training scale.

You can really get down to the basics with your cavaletti work without getting bored out of your mind. Trust me, I’ve thought this through. This video from the 2006 USDF National Symposium also adds some fuel to the cavaletti fire.

And finally, you can’t have groundpole videos without a visit back to one of the most creative uses of those pesky things on the ground. If anyone cares to recreate this, be sure to send it to us!

Have anything to add to the list? Add your suggestion in the comments below!

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