The Reasons why we use Trotting Poles
Equinology equinebody workers release tension and help strengthen the horses muscles. They incorporate stretching and flexing exercises to help the horse move freer and further. You must create a physical foundation to build on to keep your horse sound and healthy. Exercises to strengthen the muscles of your horse and promote flexibility will result in less injures.
Trotting over ground poles encourages rounding of the back and strengthening of the abdominal muscles. Pole exercises were introduced to facilitate movement through the shoulder and build and strengthen the stabilizing muscles. (Core muscles) Trotting poles will build up horse’s hind end. It will help to strengthen your horse’s hocks and improve his flexibility, helping to improve balance and rhythm. (Horses which are favouring a leg will try to protect it by not using that leg correctly resulting in muscle loss. Have your therapist release all muscles and correctly align your horses muscles, tendons etc By doing Trotting Poles one encourages the horse to correctly use injured areas.) The horse when trotting over the poles must round his back, if the horses back is allowed to hollow then you will not benefit from the exercise. Make sure the Tail Crupper Strap is long enough to allow the horse to round his back. Before and after this exercise you must always stop and back up a few strides to release muscles as we tend to always move forwards. When we start a new horse with the trotting poles we put travelling boots on so that they cover the coronary band as protection. When your horse is trotting safely over the poles then you can change to rubber bell boots, but be sure never to do poles without them. We put long lines on with your lines through the lowest rings. You want him to lower his head in a relaxed manner with his head slightly tipped to the inside. His body should be positioned against the poles in a slight curve otherwise he will not use his muscles correctly. He must trot for 5 min. for one way then stop him and walk across the ring calmly. Before changing direction ask him to back a couple of steps straight backwards with his head tucked in completely. Change direction and make the horse walk first and wait for your command to trot. I normally won’t do more than 20 min. You may want to start on 10 min (5min one was and 5min the other way). If your horse is very energetic you can go longer. Trotting Poles have a calming effect on horses. It seems to take the edge off of highly stressed or energetic horses allowing them to think and co-operate with you. I would rather do 20min. of trotting poles and then ride or jog the horse versus fighting with the horse. Sore backs seem to be something of the past. Always use a Neck Stretcher (available at most tool shops) when doing Trotting Poles. This forces him to drop his head past the point where he can use his Neck muscles to pick up his legs. He is then forced to use his shoulders and hips to pick up his legs and not his Neck muscles.
- Pole Ring – 16meters across
- Trotting Poles = old eskom poles (telephone pole)
- 9 by 3m poles (15cm in diameter poles)