HQ Pony Magazine Issue 13

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EDITION 13 | JUNE 2022

We take pride in our quality, personalised friendly service and uniqueness. No order is too big or too small. Embroidery is offered on all items. Let us design your yard’s numnahs, shirts, daysheets and ears. Whether it's for shows or daywear this is the place to buy your goods. We have stunning prints, colours, shapes and designs to choose from.

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Hello! And welcome to our twelfth edition of HQ Pony Magazine. In celebration of a year of publications, we have made this a special polework edition, because what’s not to love about polework? We hope you enjoy this edition as something a little different and we’ll be back next month with our usual content.

NEWS: In exciting news, we are printing our next edition of Pony,

which will be available in the middle of July. We can’t wait to share this with you, so look out for it in your closest horsey shops! Until next time, happy horsing!

With much love, Lizzie and the HQ Pony Team xxx

We’d love to hear from you and receive your photos, drawings or pony-related thoughts. To get in touch send an email to lizzie@hqmagazine.co.za and we’ll get back to you!

Your polework guide 1 Why polework 2 Polework distances 3 How to use this guide 4 Polework from the ground 5 Basic ridden polework 17 Advanced ridden polework 30 FAQs 36 Puzzle fun 37 Products we love 41 Next issue 42


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Why polework? Polework can be useful for a number of reasons. It can be used: • • • • • •

• • • • •

To help ponies improve their balance, suppleness, elasticity, and flexibility on the flat To encourage your pony to work better through his body. To help improve your pony’s coordination and ability to place his legs where he means to! To help young ponies as a progression toward jumping To help ponies who are struggling with an aspect of their jumping training, e.g. ponies who rush to the fence. To help teach ponies to lengthen and collect. When placed close together, the pony has to collect his stride, and when placed further apart, the pony has to lengthen the stride. This encourages the pony to engage his hindquarters and work in a correct frame. To work on your jumping while looking after your pony’s joints, as polework has a much lower impact than jumping. To help make flatwork more exciting and challenging for more experienced horses. To keep your pony fit in a well-rounded schooling programme. To teach your pony to figure our distances for themselves. This can really help you out later on! To help loosen up the bodies of older horses.

Poles can be done in hand or ridden over in a walk, trot and canter. Raising poles on cavaletti blocks further aids in the energy of the movement and encourages the pony to activate his hindquarters. NOTE: You should only raise the poles once your pony is easily doing the exercise with poles on the ground.


Polework distances To avoid drawing distances on each diagram to try and suit every horse and pony, we’ve put all the distances you might need here. As you can see, there is a bit of variety within each gait, and that is to allow for individual differences between our horses and ponies. You’ll need to play around a little bit to find the optimal distance for you and your steed!

General spacing tips 1. Make your distances a bit longer rather than a bit shorter when you try the exercises for the first time. 2. Check how your pony copes with the distances every time you ride and adjust accordingly. 3. Remember that if you put jumps up in the place of poles, you are likely to need to increase the distances. HORSE DISTANCES: PONY DISTANCES: Walk poles: 0.8 - 1m Walk poles: 0.7 - 0.9m Trot poles: 1.2 - 1.7m Trot poles: 1.1m - 1.4m Canter poles: 2.7 - 3.4m Canter poles: 2.3m - 2.8m Please note that these are just general guidelines, and you must play around yourself until you feel the distances are right.


How to use this guide The exercises in this guide become progressively more difficult as we go on. In the beginning, we have a section of polework exercises that can be done from the ground. Polework from the ground is an excellent exercise for young ponies, a good way to build strength in all ponies and also a great confidence builder for the more nervous ponies. These ‘ground’ exercises can also be done under saddle, and you might want to start with these before moving into the basic ridden polework exercises. In each exercise, we’d suggest that you start in the walk, work up to trot and then canter (changing the distances between the poles for each gait). Once your pony is confident with one gait, we’d suggest incorporating some transitions at this level before moving up a gait. For instance, if you have mastered Exercise 9 in the walk, it would be a good challenge to see if you can halt your pony in one or both squares. You would then try the entire exercise in trot, and once he was confident, you could start bringing in some transitions to walk or halt inside the squares. Please also note that you should ride each exercise an equal amount on each rein to ensure your pony gets equal benefit on both reins.




THE ZIGZAG CHALLENGE: Try and stay as straight as possible with your pony during this exercise. This is great for those dressage enthusiasts hoping to perfect their centre line entrance!


QUARTERS The goal of this exercise is really to try and walk or trot as accurate a circle as you can!


Head for the centre of each pole and if you find yourself on a straight line, you know you’ve gone wrong!


FAN ON A CIRCLE This exercise encourages your pony to really pick up his feet quickly, and then gives him a bit of time to stretch out before doing it again!


CROSS ON A CIRCLE This exercise will challenge you and your pony to ride accurately through the middle of both sets of poles. Focus on keeping your circle round and avoiding ‘egg shapes’.


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CENTRE POINT Again, this exercise looks at your accuracy in helping your pony to ride a smooth circle over the points of both sets of poles. This is more difficult than it might initially seem. 11

THE LONG ARROW This exercise works on your ability to stay straight, but also encourages your pony to pick up his feet at the necessary rate.


Try and stay as straight as possible with your pony during this exercise. This is great for those dressage enthusiasts hoping to perfect their centre line entrance!


THE SHORT ARROW This exercise gets your pony to think about his distances and where he is putting his feet, due to the proximity of the four poles to the head of the arrow.


TRIANGULAR STACK This exercises tests your straightness and makes sure your pony is actively lifting his legs.


This exercise is great for practising your ability to ask for halt from the ground. From the walk, ask your pony to halt as straight as possible within each triangle. Spolier alert - this is not as easy as it seems.


TWO SQUARES With this exercise the distances vary so your pony has to really pay attention to his feet.


You can add a halt within each square. If you know how to ask for a full hindquarter yield or forehand yield from the ground, you could also incorporate this within the squares.


CENTRE POINT As with all serpentines, the key to success with this exercise is accuracy. Find the points at which you need to cross the poles to form three equal loops and then focus on forming as even a serpentine as you possibly can.




BEND AND STRAIGHT This exercise is a great one for getting your pony to both ride accurate straight lines and also to bend through his body on the circle.


STACKED CIRCLES This exercise helps you to ride accurate circles, and also encourages your pony to look where he is placing his feet!


THE EGG TIMER This exercise doesn’t involve you going over the poles, but simply tracing the outline of the shape. This requires very precise riding and a good eye.


EGG TIMER X 2 This is a step up from the previous exercise, and again involves accurate riding. This is more difficult than it might initially seem. 22

CIRCLES ON A SQUARE This is a great exercise for getting your pony to bend through his body and also ride accurate straight lines. This is an HQ Pony favourite! 23


LOOP THE LOOP With this exercise you complete each circle at least once before moving on to the next one. This is a really good suppling exercise for your pony.


THE OVAL This challenging exercise really involves accurate riding on your part. Your pony needs to be listening to you and you need to give clear aids. This is tricky shape to ride accurately! 26

SWEEPING TURNS This exercise again doesn’t involve your pony stepping over any poles, but uses the poles to help you to ride accurately.


Halting in the centre of the poles is a great way to practice your halt transition.


MIRROR IMAGE This exercise works on both long straight lines and also turns. The turns will help you to get your ponies hindquarter working so that he can move with straightness on the lines.


DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER Again, this exercise practices straight lines and turns, to really get your pony’s body working.


Practising coming back to halt or walk within the diamond is a great way of improving the precision of your transitions.



DOUBLE ARROW This advanced exercise sees you ride a long straight line and then two equal semi-circles. Accuracy is key, and your pony will need to engage his hindend to get over all of these poles!


HEART This advanced exercise involves a couple of tighter turns and also a long straight line with no ‘supporting’ poles to guide you. It requires precise riding!


THE ADVANCED SQUARE This is a very difficult exercise. Turning a ‘square’ corner is almost impossible at the higher gaits, but by trying to do this you will encourage your pony to sit on his haunches and move through the next set of poles. It will also improve your riding of corners when you get back into the arena.


The poles come up very quickly in this exercise, so make the square big initially and then reduce the size over time.


If you struggle with your ‘square corners’ you can lay out poles as a guide for you to ride between.


THE HECTIC ZIGZAG Again this is a difficult exercise, particularly for your pony as he has to actively lift his feet again and again. You should not attempt this exercise unless your pony is very fit. If your pony is less fit, but good at polework you can remove a few of the ‘zigs and zags’ and try it like that.


THE CHAMPION If you can do this exercise well, we salute you! This is our nemesis exercise here at HQ Pony but it is an absolutely brilliant exercise for fit ponies, who are relatively advanced in their flatwork. It can be made easier by separating the poles and using fewer poles. Truly, this is the exercise of champions!


Polework FAQs How many poles do I need? Each exercise has a different number of poles, but generally speaking you won’t need more than 10. What length of poles are required? You can use any length of poles that you have available. Do I do the polework from the ground exercises in hand or on a lunge line? The groundwork exercises are generally best done in hand, but you are welcome to try them on a lunge line. Are these exercises for walk, trot or canter? It is usually a good idea to start in the walk, build up to trot and then canter. Just don’t forget to adjust the distances accordingly. Where do I start each exercise? You can start each exercise wherever you would like. We have placed a pony on the diagrams to suggest a good starting point, but you are welcome to start the exercise from any point you want to! What route do I take? We have laid out a suggested route for each exercise, but you are welcome to play around and see what you can find. We enjoy putting out one of the bigger exercises in the arena and then seeing how many new patterns we can come up with! What size circles should I use? This will depend on the size of your arena. Bigger circles are easier for your horse, so it is generally advised to start on larger circles.








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