How to improve your horse’s rhythm and balance with polework

If you struggle with maintaining your horse’s rhythm and balance coming into a fence, it can often be difficult to think of ways to break up your normal training routine to get the results you want.

Fizz Marshall, the equine centre manager at Hartpury College talks us through a polework exercise called “The clock” that you can add to your training sessions, designed to focus the horse and rider’s mind.

What is The clock?

“This is a pole exercise I use for suppling the horse’s canter,” says Fizz.

How does it work?

“The poles are set out on a 20m circle,” she adds. “There are four poles and you put them at the four points of the clock face.

“If you canter around the poles first and then raise them altogether or one by one depending on your horse’s level it will help the horse supple through the turn, continue to canter to the fence and help them with their rhythm and balance.”

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Why is this exercise useful?

“I find this exercise really useful for all types of horses,” says Fizz. “I find that it helps them sit in the canter and afterwards you’ll find that they carry themselves and lighten the forehand much more easily.”

Who is Fizz Marshall?

Fizz has an MA in equine business management and BSc (Hons) in equine science, as well as years of experience working with competition horses across the disciplines. Fizz continues to ride and work with horses from the ground and has a particular interest in the rehabilitation, re-education and training of sport horses. The equine therapy centre at Hartpury College, where she is the manager, specialises in exercised-based rehabilitation for horses with musculo-skeletal injuries.

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