Should I be using Pole work?
Pole work exercises can be used in both dogs and horse's to improve their core strength, muscle mass, joint range of motion and proprioception.
As your pet steps over the poles they must flex all the joints in their limbs to clear the obstacle, as you raise the poles the degree of flexion must increase. Therefore it is important to start with your poles on the ground and ensure your pet can easily clear them in the walk before raising one end of the last pole.
If your pet can manage raised poles you can begin to raise alternate ends, then both ends or raise alternate ends to different heights to really test your pets awareness of where their feet are (Proprioception).
To increase stride length poles can be moved further apart so that a longer stride must be taken so as to not knock a pole, this also increases muscle elongation and helps reduce any areas of tension.
For examples of pole work layouts check out our Pinterest boards at www.pintrest.co.uk/z_hindle/
Poles increase balance and body awareness as your pet completes the exercise overtime their balance and body awareness will continue to improve as they become more aware of where they are placing the feet and get used to having limbs raised and having to balance on the remaining limbs.
If you want to know more about equine pole work exercises and how to decide which ones to choose take a look at our Equine Pole work Guide- www.fitpetphysio.com/shop