This rider challenge is suitable for riders of various experience levels and may be ridden at any gait—depending on the ability of rider and/or horse.
1. Place three or four sets of poles down the centerline of your arena. Allow enough room to ride around the outside of the poles.
2. Space each set of poles for trot, at distances that are appropriate for the horse(s) that will be performing the exercise. The exercise is ridden in two-point and/or posting trot, but may be introduced at the walk.
3. Start at one end of the arena. Ride over the middle of each set of poles until you reach the other end of the arena. When you reach the last set of poles, continue back over the poles until you reach the starting point. Repeat as desired.
4. Ride the pattern with accuracy. Pay attention to the correct bend and straightness of the horse as you ride the pattern. The approach and departure of each set of poles should be consistent through out. Use the turns to change your alignment to change the horse's bend, being conscious of using inside leg to send the horse into the new outside rein for the turn. Avoid steering with only the inside rein.
5. Option 1: Ride the canter AROUND or OVER one or more sets of poles (spacing adjusted for canter). Repeat on the other lead, or incorporate a lead change (simple or flying) to change direction.
6. Option 2: Replace one or more sets of poles with the appropriate size jumps, then trot or canter.
CENTERED RIDING TIPS:
The rider's building blocks should be correctly balanced and aligned to facilitate the application of the aids and the horse's way of going. Look ahead with soft eyes and ride the pattern with clear intent. Check with your breathing to help maintain communication with your horse and a consistent rhythm and tempo. Ride and turn from your center to maintain the correct bend and to avoid cutting corners or bulging out.
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