May Monthly Exercise – The Zig – Zag

This month, Dante & I have decided to go back to a bit more flat work to focus on Flexibility & Rhythm. Hoping that in the long run this will tremendously help us out with our jumping. 

The Set Up

Place 4-6 poles in a “zig-zag” shape down the center of your arena, or if you wish out in ZIG ZAG NBW-page-001the field.  Check the diagram to the right. (Minimum 4 poles required)

What Horse is this Exercise Useful For?

This exercise is good for a horse who anticipates there work. The different & tight turns will keep your horse thinking & stop them from guessing where they are going next, therefore they have to stop and listen to you & your aids.

How To Ride The Exercise

This exercise is quite versatile, in a sense that you can do your trot and canter work, as well as doing everything in a walk also if you wish. 

Trying to maintain a consistant rhythm through out this exercise is key. This will all help you when you translate it up into jumping, riding tight canter circles and approaching the poles correctly & smoothly are all the basis of your jumping. 

zig 2-page-001See the diagram to the left to see how to ride the exercise in trot, focusing on those tight turns and getting your horse bending around your leg. I also use this exercises as a warm up in walk getting Dante moving correctly and working forward from my leg. Below to the right, In canter I rode this exercise, with difficulty at first but as you ride it more frequent your horse has to wait for your aids through out.

As your horse progresses, working on your canter leads throughout this exercise is great, it not only lets you use the poles as a guide, but it doesn’t give your horse much space to rush off in between poles either. zig 1-page-001

My biggest problem lately is keeping my body still, at the end of the day they are poles on the ground, I certainly don’t need to be doing any magical jumping positions over them!

Below I have added in 3 additional patterns that you can ride using the zig-zag exercise. If you are riding circles start off by riding large circles, as your horse becomes more familiar with the routine then begin to challenge him by making them smaller. 


What these exercises helps your horse with

  • Stops them from Rushing
  • Helps to maintain a good rhythm  
  • Helps with flexibility & tight turns

I hope the above exercises helps at least one of you, our readers! If you want us to try out anything for next months exercise make sure to drop us a mail, we will happily be your guinea pigs! 

But for now, enjoy that good weather & get your “zig-zag’s” out!


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