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I absolutely love this exercise for every level of horse. It hits so many nails on the head for your training that you don’t need to drill it for too long.

Let’s start by taking a gander at our old friend, The German Training Scale.

What a beauty. Am I right? This scale is a great step-by-step approach to achieve a correctly moving and balanced horse. Suppleness is not achieved without rhythm, straightness is not achieved with impulsion & contact & suppleness & rhythm, etc.

I like to always go into my rides with this scale in mind. In particular, I like to go into the following exercise with the training scale at the front of my focus.

The exercise is set up like a giant square. You have trot poles and canter poles and all you have to do is maneuver through the square with transitions before and after the poles. Go through your trot poles, square turn, pick up your canter, go through your canter poles, square turn, down transition trot, go through your trot poles. Repeat, repeat, repeat! And of course, change directions.

I like this exercise because it helps your horse think for itself. It is your job to move the shoulders around the square turns, to give quiet yet immediate aids, and sit tall and let your horse do the footwork. It is the horse’s job to respond dutifully to your aids, obediently respond to your transitions, and quietly adjust. The bigger the square, the easier this exercise is. Always give yourself plenty of time between the trot and canter poles to have a good transition.

In this exercise, you will work on the following:

  1. Transitions

  2. Straightness

  3. Engagement

  4. Rhythm

  5. Relaxation

Definitely much more, but those are the top 5!

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