If the speed and also precision the pole bending has actually ever dubbed to you, the time to offer it a whirl. This fun, fast sport requires countless of the structure skills the will help your horse succeed in every his pursuits, and also pole bending is a an excellent way to begin your future barrel horse.

“My equines start top top the poles and then go to the barrels,” says Doug Leasor that Leasor Quarter steeds in Holland, Mass. He find pole bending more complicated than barrel racing. “There are six poles versus 3 barrels, and also you go past each one of them twice. You’ve gained 12 variables versus three.”

Leasor has actually trained and ridden many American Quarter equine Association barrel racing and pole bending champion in addition to providing clinics and also producing instructional DVDs on beginning speed horses.

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A strong Foundation

Leasor says a horse should have all the fundamentals in place prior to ever getting sight that the poles.

“I prefer my horses to work off my leg a little an ext than many people,” he says. “My theory is that the much more you acquire into a horse’s mouth, the harder his mouth is going to be. The an ext I have the right to do v leg pressure, the much longer his mouth will last. I ride my horses in an O-ring snaffle or miscellaneous similar.

“They need to pick up your leads, walk, trot, lope and also stop,” Leasor continues. “When I’m exercising my horses, component of mine training regimen is that as soon as I asking my steed to stop, I desire him to respond. If i’m loping circles and I questioning him come stop, I never walk him forward after the stop. Ns let him stand there, and also if i’m going to ride off, i’ll ride turn off to the left or right. I’ll never ride turn off forward.” This reinforces obedience and waiting for rider instruction.

Setting up the Pole Pattern

The pole bending pattern is composed of 6 6-foot-tall poles, each v a base no an ext than 14 inches wide. The very first pole is collection 21 feet from the starting line, and each pole thereafter is spaced 21 feet apart. The horse can start ~ above the left- or right-hand side of the poles and also will climate run straight down, rotate the end pole, weave with the poles, turn around the final pole and weave back. When the horse turns about the finish pole, he will certainly then run straight down the opposite next from wherein he started.

Introducing the Pattern

When a equine is hard in his basics, Leasor introduce the pattern at a walk.

“I’ll lug the steed in and set him in prior of the poles in ~ the end of the arena so that he watch what he’s going come do,” says Leasor. He feels this is an important preparatory step, including that the does no advise civilization running right into the ring to start the pattern, even at a competition, together it doesn’t offer the steed the possibility to see what he’s around to do. “I begin the sample at a walk, then I begin it at a trot, and then I’ll enter the lope. I don’t perform a most the operation down and also run back. I emphasis mainly on the weaving.”

Leasor defines the driver mechanics throughout a pattern. “When you obtain to the fifth pole, you bump to collect him. If your steed is running wide open and you gain to the end and haul that around, climate he’s going to be every strung out.

“If you going down the right-hand side of the poles, once his shoulder gets to that 6th pole, you lift the within (left) rein and also you take your left leg and also put it right into his ribcage to begin the bend. As you get three-quarters of the way around the pole, you release your leg, drop your inside rein, and pick up the external (right) rein, and also push his shoulder over with your ideal leg. That gets the on the opposite side of the centerline the the poles. Then, as soon as his shoulder gets to the 5th pole, you choose up top top the outside (left) rein, and also take your left leg and also push the steed over.”

This continues until you with the opposite finish to make the turn and head back up v the 6 poles, using the leg and also hand cues together described.

Think that stepping your equine over through the pattern, says Leasor. “You don’t a zig-zag pattern. If your horse is 8 feet long, you have to obtain 8 feet throughout the centerline prior to you deserve to come back the other way. If you stand your horse up and also push him side to side, he’s just 3 ½ feet wide, therefore you’re covering less ground. Your horse has to stand up and move next to side fairly than zig-zagging through the pattern.”

Your body place will be more or less up upright; however, Leasor says that several of his equines turn so tightly the he needs to drop his shoulders roughly the poles to stay out of the way.

The need for Speed

Leasor doesn’t worry around how quick his steeds are to run up or under the political parties of the pattern as soon as he’s maintain them. He claims running comes normally to horses, offered time. “They will figure that out on your own,” the explains. “You need to teach them come handle and to turn. Most people put a operation in them also fast. I turning. I provide them the possibility to walk faster, however I don’t push them to go faster. Someday a light will go on in the horse’s head the he can do the faster, and also he will.”

Leasor explains that it’s much easier to start a steed on poles than barrels due to the fact that a barrel equine will have actually too lot run to start with. “If you work-related on the pole pattern, you’re constantly into the horse; every 21 feet you’re make him perform something,” he says.”He’s an ext responsive 보다 a barrel steed would be.”

Schooling Strategies

How lot Leasor works on the pattern throughout training relies on the horse’s mindset. “We may work the pattern this particular day 20 to 30 minutes on and also off. You can’t save their attention expectations that long, so friend ride them through the pattern, then job-related on miscellaneous else, and then come earlier again.”

However, when a horse is performing the pole sample perfectly in ~ home and is prepared for competition, Leasor no longer drills it at home.

Rather than overdoing the pattern, Leasor works on exercises the reinforce the fundamentals. “We carry out a most loping circles, stopping, and also rolling over to the outside. If you loping one clockwise, for example, you protect against your horse and roll back to the outside and then lope off again. It keeps her horse gathered and keeps him using his ago end a lot.

“I do a many bending and moving the equine over with my foot to the inside and also outside,” he adds.

Avoiding typical Mistakes

Perfect practice will pay turn off at competitions, Leasor explains. The pole bending sample is all about rhythm, and also if you don’t collection your equine up correctly, he’s most likely to experience troubles throughout the run.

“The poles space the exact same distance all over you go, unlike a barrel pattern,” Leasor explains. “Horses gain into a collection rhythm . Once they revolve that finish pole, if they turn late, they’ll lose the rhythm and also often fight the third pole up. Once you’re running a quick pattern, girlfriend don’t have time to relocate your horse and correct him. You have actually to get your horse in the very same spot every solitary time.

“Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect exercise makes perfect,” that continues. This has rating your steed for the very first turn the same way and in ~ the exact same time every time girlfriend practice, whether you’re walking, trotting or loping.

“I view a lot of steeds that start anticipating through the weave,” says Leasor. He says skipping part poles at random to fix this problem. “If a equine is having trouble and also diving in ~ above the pole, I’ll run him down and also we’ll revolve the 4th pole, weave ago up two and then weave ago down three, et cetera. Make the equine wait ~ above you.”

Set because that Success

The No. 1 tip for success is to make certain your horse has actually an aptitude because that pole bending. Just like people, some horses are much more suited to details sports than others.

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“You can tell if they favor what lock doing,” Leasor says. Sure, a steed may have actually an off day, yet if he isn’t suited to or interested in pole bending, the will display in his performance.

Assuming you have actually a equine who is interested in the sport, Leasor claims the following tip for success is to placed in the hours and also perfect exercise time. “If friend don’t job-related at it, you’re no going come succeed in ~ it,” the explains.”Michael Jordan wouldn’t have been Michael Jordan if he sat on the couch all week long and then went and played basketball Sunday afternoon.”

Whether you’re utilizing pole bending practice to mix up your routine, to start your future barrel equine or to contend in pole bending competitions, the thrill and also precision that the pattern is sure to challenge you both and also improve her communication.

For more information ~ above the sport, visit the national Pole Bending association at www.polebending.org.

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Micaela Myers is the author of The Horse shown Guide to Trail Riding and also KNACK Leg and also Hoof treatment for Horses.

This short article originally appeared in the December 2014 worry of Horse portrayed magazine. Click right here to subscribe!