Tuesday, September 18, 2012

ground poles in the round pen

Here are two short videos of Shyloh going over a set of ground poles. . .

This one is with no side reins.

This one is with side reins attached.
Any thoughts? I notice (since I have seen the whole thing in live action) that she seems to keep a more forward trot without the side reins. She also seems more willing to go over the poles. I am thinking it might be because she is using her head to help balance herself over the poles. 

With the side reins, she hits the poles a lot more. Not sure exactly what that means. . .

But, on a more positive note, we did hills the other day and they seem to be getting a whole lot easier for Shy. We did five sets, which we ran pretty much continuously. . . which means not stopping on the top of every hill to see all the land.

Is this the beginning of some muscle??

Look closer. . .

Stop looking at my butt!!
Anyway . . just more of the same, alternating between ground poles and the hills. Hopefully I will have a book review soon, as soon as they get in! And some new exercises to try.


  1. Can't answer any questions as to why she's moving differantly. But, she is for sure. I'm clueless about side reins LOL. She is definitly getting muscle on the bum though :)

    1. It seems, that when given the option, she just does not want to use that rear end!

  2. I would try loosening those side reins. You want her to be able to stretch down and forward. They are a tad too short for her to do that over poles. When she stretches down her nose has to poke in. That will let her use her back and bum more. I do think she's got some good muscle though. If you want to do the shorter length I wouldn't do that over the poles and would only do that for a short time in the middle of the workout. That is just my two cents. I am kind of a nut about being careful with side reins so sorry if I got too bossy!!

    1. Thank you! I will do that next time. I thought they were loose, but you're right, not for going over poles. I thought I was being careful with the side reins, too, but going over poles with them is new to me!
      And no, you are not being bossy at all, I really do appreciate the advice :)

  3. I think it would be interesting to see how she does with different lengths on the side reins. When they are short I think that they attempt to impose a more collected stature, which in theory should make her bring her rear legs under her and use her rear end. However, it is apparent that she loses impulsion. I'm thinking that the restriction on her head restricts her movement and thus she isn't using her hind quarters the way you would want.
    The muscle definition looks great. Mares never have as clearly defined muscles as geldings and Haffies don't show their muscles as other breeds might.

  4. Sometimes I change my side rein length often during a session. I warm up both ways without. Might have it shorter for working more collected. Then I'll lengthen it for poles and forward work. If they start to pop their heads up I just push em more forward.

  5. I agree with what you were saying, Allison, about her slowing down with side reins. I also agree with you that she is using her front end for balance. Since she is a drafty type, it is extra difficult to get her to transfer weight from front end to back end just because she is built heavier in front. As I watched the video without side reins, I notice she is compensating more at the third and fourth pole. She hits the first with rear, then hops the rest, nose in the air. She is throwing her head and neck up to help her get over the poles without really using her hind end. It gets worse over the last two because she has to transfer more wieght with more poles and she is avoiding it. With side reins added, she is forced to transfer the weight and is is stopping and slowing down to avoid it. Addition of side reins is good to force the correct self carriage, but only if she can physically handle the work asked. I think we should do more work on the line with side reins and no poles making her very forward in the trot, and changing the circle size. For example, start without side reins to warm up forwrd in the trot. Next add side reins to give her support to not allow nose in the air, and keep the forward movement with a few good transitions. Then, start changing circle size from large to bringing in smaller while keeping forward movement for a half circle then out large again. Bringing her in smaller and staying forward into the reins will help her to step under herself with her rear end. Once she starts to understand to stay forward on the small circle for short periode of time with the release into the larger, less demanding circle, you can start asking for more and smaller with forward movement until she is clerly stepping under and over with her inside rear leg while keeping her outside leg actively working as well. This simple exercise will help her to understand slowly and build the proper self carriage slowly. It looks like the poles are a little too much work for her right now, and are teaching her to slow down and stop instead of going forward into the reins to really use her back end. Even without side reins, she is seriously compensating and this makes the exercise counter-productive. She is a smart girl and is very good at getting out of working properly. I know her hitting the poles with rear is both laziness and also lack of ability. Lets start more slowly and then add poles one at a time. She has to be truely using her rear end before she can step under herself and over poles. Haha, poles are tricky... Some horses they help a lot to teach to use their rear end, but some horses it can do the opposite. Forward movement is the key! Also, I know because of her strained rear end she probaly needs to develop at a slower pace... To both prevent injury and to convince her that the work you are asking for is not going to hurt. Creating good muscle memory and a positive mindset towards muscle building exercises is very important :)


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