pmcperformance — March 18, 2019
Spring Warm Up Exercises
Hope everyone is enjoying the spring weather and getting the urge to get out and ride!
I just wanted to share a few good exercises we like to work on for Horsemanship as well as Trail, it will also help for your basic riding skills in any discipline including Western Pleasure and well as English events. I like to call this the clover leaf exercise, I’m sure it’s been around for ages and I’m not sure what everyone else calls it but this is what I call it. This exercise can be done using 4 cones set in a square OR in a variety of other ways including poles built into a box or even boxes. It’s important if you are using poles you have the proper spacing for your obstacles. 2,3,6 (2×3=6) If you can remember this, you’re on the right track! 😉 2’ spacing is for walk over’s, 3’ spacing is for jog overs and 6’ spacing is for lope overs. Horse’s can jog 6’ gaps, adding in two strides between each space and lope 12’ gaps adding one stride in between the gap.
So if you’re wanting to practice this exercise with cones, we set 4 cones in a square, about 10’ apart from one another. We then ride strait lines up the centre of the cones and nice round corners around the cones, continuing back into the centre line between the next set of cones. This allows a horse and rider to work on MANY different things including balance and straightness, also working on shape and bend around corners and adding a constant change in direction. We start this with inexperience or young riders at the walk and trot and then work up to other gates. Once you’re ready to lope or canter this exercise, we start by keeping the same lead through each section. When this becomes easy we then add counter lope or counter canter to the exercise as well as simple or flying lead changes in the centre.
There are a million reasons this particular exercise is beneficial and there are also a variety of ways to complete it. The clover leaf pattern is one of my favourite things to work on as you can instantly see where a horse and/or rider is struggling and it rapidly improves any horse and riders skill.
In the pictures you will see how this can be used with poles as well. You can play with striding as well as add back up’s. The small box, ‘L’ shape jog throughs and extra poles to the exercise. It is extremely beneficial to all riders and horses of any level.
The PMC Team! 😉