Groundwork Pole Exercises: Build confidence, body awareness and strength with clicker training

Gymnastic Groundwork Series Part 4

Poles are a great way to build your horse’s body awareness and confidence. For many horses, this starts with despooking exercises to ensure that they’re not anxious about the poles or afraid of stepping over or touching them with their feet. You can see some of the exercises I’ve done with Rowan to help her overcome her fear of poles.

From here, we can start to use poles for improving body awareness. I begin with simple exercises using just one pole and then build in complexity from there. Here you can see a few examples of beginner pole exercises that I find really useful to train.

All of this is trained with positive reinforcement, which means I use a marker (such as a clicker) and rewards to motivate and reward my horse. I’m also looking for softness and relaxation throughout, so it’s a great way to improve your communication and relationship with your horse.

Watch the full Gymnastic Groundwork Demo series here:

P1: Getting Started with In-Hand Work: Leading with Connection 

P2: In-Hand Work: How to Start Lateral Flexions and Shoulders & Quarters Over Using Clicker Training 

P3: In-Hand Work: Teaching Lateral Movements with Clicker Training 

P4: Pole Exercises for Confidence, Body Awareness and Strength


➣ We have a full Home Study Course on Gymnastic Groundwork in the CT Club. This shows you exactly how to train these movements, starting from leading and building from there, including step-by-step videos of teaching lateral work in-hand. It’s laid out clearly step-by-step showing real horses learning every step of the way so it’s perfect if you’ve never done it before and/or you’re looking for a way to train groundwork using clicker training or positive reinforcement.

The CT Club is an online membership site where you can get access to hundreds of step-by-step training videos on training your horse using positive reinforcement. You can find out more and sign up here. We look forward to seeing you there 🙂

➤ You can also find out more in the #1 bestselling Connection Training BOOK 📖 Get it on Amazon (search for ‘Connection Training’) or download Chapter 1 free here for a preview 👀 


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