DRESSAGE-Help your horse become more engaged

This exercie will help you to refresh your training regime, encourage your horse to want to work and to show that you do not need an arena to be successful in Dressage. It explains how polework can help a horse become more engaged.

Polework can help a horse become more engaged.

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Before you mount, set up 4 trotting poles poles in the middle of the long side just off the track.  As a guide, the poles need to be 4-5 toe to heel steps apart but this may vary from horse to horse.

 Once you have warmed your horse up, proceed on a 20 meter circle in trot over the poles, aiming to keep the speed of trot even into the poles and aiming that your horse is off your leg coming out of the poles and maintains a good rhythm.

If your horse is behind the leg he will knock the poles, as he will if he rushes. Your aim is to establish a good rhythm, with your horse stretching over the back and neck to the contact in both reins. 
For the next part of the exercise stay in trot over the poles and pick up canter immediately after the poles and complete your circle in canter. Then as you approach the poles again on your circle go back to trot. Once you are over the poles in trot go back to canter and repeat the exercise. 
This exercise will help with a horse that is tense or runs into canter, it's a good way of maintaining relaxation over the back and gaining more engagement. The downward transitions will also improve as the horse starts to sit back in preparation of the trot poles. 
Performing these exercises regularly will encourage a more harmonious, supple and engaged canter and trot.

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