It’s week 2 of our August monthly exercises & this week Dante was put through his paces with a simple yet very effective exercise all about working that hind end.
Have a read below!
What you will need:
5 poles, 5-11 wings & cups (As you can see from my pictures I used the fence in the arena so I only needed half the amount of wings.
Someone to help on the ground with adjusting poles as you ride through the exercise.
What this exercises is good for:
- Working & engaging your horses hind end
- Control, pace & Rhythm
How To Ride This Exercise:
- To start off I would recommend starting this exercises with 5 ground poles, placed 3.5ft apart (Dante’s measurements for a bounce, this will vary with a pony or a smaller horse, Dante is a giant!) After your warm up, approach the line of bounces in canter. Always aim to hit the center of the pole everytime, this will assist your horse with straightness & also keep him balanced.
- Practice going through the bounce grid with flat poles on both reins, some adjustments may need to be done to the poles.
Tip: Keep your horse moving forward from your leg, and keep your hands soft and supple
- Once you are happy with your approach to the flat poles, to challenge your horse more, start raising each pole up into raised poles, I started gradually with every second pole working toward the full row of poles all raised, (I kept them in sequence of right raised left raised the full way through the grid.
Tip: Dont be disappointed if your horse knocks or runs through the grid, with this exercise practice makes perfect, they are strengthening their hind end, this comes with time. Make sure you have a patient helper standing by to help assist with the poles for you.
- Dante got quite distracted coming in canter to begin with, so I approached it in trot a few times so he could get the hang of things. With some young horses this may overwhelm them coming into a big grid, so remember to sit up and look straight ahead of you as you ride through the grid, using your leg to guide them through.
- We finished off this exercise by focusing on approaching the grid from Dante’s right side, as this is his weaker side. We noticed that when we trotted into the exercise he would pick up a left canter lead as he felt more balanced on his left side. To fix this we only approached the grid on a right canter lead from the right rein, this made it more difficult for him to switch canter leads through the grid which forced him to remain on his weaker side, meaning this side was getting the workout it needed.
- As we progressed through the exercises to finish off, we raised the last pole of the grid to an 80cm straight pole, to really get him using his hind.
No Rein Jumping
You may have noticed in some of the pictures that my arms are out to the sides and that I am not holding onto the reins as Dante goes through the grid. I practice a lot of no rein/hand work with Dante. He is a very sensitive horse, particularly in the mouth. Giving him the freedom of his head from time to time really helps him accept the contact whilst I ride him.
This exercise was the perfect excuse to jump him with that extra bit of freedom, it is the kind of exercise that doesn’t give him much space to run out or act up, as once he is mid exercise the only way out is by either stopping or completing it!
There are a lot of benefits to jumping with no reins – it perfect the rider’s position & tests how good you are at balancing for one, and secondly it really helps you focus on your leg position.
If you are brave enough be sure to give it a go, but do make sure you have someone on the ground with you incase anything happens, and of course be sure you trust your horse enough to do it too, there are some horses where riding like this just wouldn’t be a safe option!
Thank you for reading & be sure to comment any tips you have on working your horses hind end!
It’s definately one of those most sought after for exercises.