Poles on the ground are used to improve the horses’ technical skills as well as rehabilitation from injury or neurological conditions.
Horses learn about the experience of moving their body over an obstacle like a pole. During the first few times trotting over the poles, horses tend to exaggerate their response so they lift their hooves higher than is necessary, as they practice, they learn that they don’t have to exert as much effort and that a lower hoof trajectory is adequate.
That reduced effort doesn’t mean the exercise loses its benefits over time, however: The amount of flexion the joints undergo is still a lot greater over poles as compared to flat work, so the exercise helps increase joints’ range of motion, especially in horses that are recovering from lameness.
In the video below you can see a demonstration of trotting poles, which carry the following benefits:
- It increases their stride
- Improves and teaches balance
- Teaches obedience
- Helps develop the correct back muscles – lowers his head and neck, rounds his back and engages his hind quarters
- Teaches the horse discipline and coordination also develops the horses natural ‘eye’