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5 Pole work myths you have to stop believing

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

Always wanted to get started with pole work with your pets but confused by all the conflicting information out there so you just do nothing?

Well, you don’t need to be confused anymore cos I’m here to debunk some of these pole work myths so you can finally get started.

Myth 1: Pole work or cavaletti should be done in trot!

Now, this isn’t to say we can’t do our trot cavaletti but we don’t have to do them in trot we can also do them in walk and canter.

Canter pole work or canter cavaletti exercises are great for our more advanced dogs and horse's and works to build their stamina.

Cavaletti exercises in the walk are where we should all start. They are a great beginner pole work exercise that can easily be done in hand with our dogs or horse's or ridden in our horse's too. Not only is this an easy place for us to start as handlers but it’s actually the most beneficial gait for our pets. This is because when we complete the cavaletti in the walk our pets have to use each limb individually.

This ensures that not only does your pet have to put weight on each limb but they also work the muscles of each limb, improving their strength and muscle mass.

Trot cavaletti have their benefits too as they challenge our pets core engagement and muscle strength, but they don’t have to be your only option. SO now if you have a young horse that you want to get started with pole work you can get started with walk pole exercises.

Myth 2: Pole exercises are just for horses!

Now, this is definitely not true! Both our dogs and horse's can do pole work or cavaletti. And it gives them both the same benefits: improved core engagement, muscle mass and strength.

There are a few changes we need to make for our dogs such as using smaller poles and not raising them as much as we would in horse's but other than that our dogs and horses can both complete the same cavaletti exercises.

Myth 3: Cavaletti can only be done ridden!

No! In hand pole work exercises or those used on the lunge or long-rein are just as effective for our horse's as ridden cavaletti.

There are also a whole host of fun ground pole exercises that can be done in horse's from the ground allowing them to get all the benefits of pole work without us having to ride which is great if we have an injury or we’re waiting on a saddle.

In hand, cavaletti exercises are also a great way of introducing pole work exercises for your young horse's.

Myth 4: Cavaletti have to be raised!

They can be but they don’t have to be.

Starting with your poles on the ground and in the walk is the easiest pole work and cavaletti exercise. However, as you and your pets progress you may want to challenge yourselves some more.

Raised cavaletti exercises are great preparation for both jumping and dressage in our horse's but can also be used in our dogs.

Raised cavaletti exercises are best introduced gradually first by raising alternate ends and then progressing to both ends, but always remember to keep them below hock height unless you’re jumping.

Myth 5: Pole exercises only engage our horse or dogs hindquarters!

Pole work exercises are a greats way to engage your pet’s hindquarters but they do so much more than that, they also improve your pets center by improving their limb muscle mass and strength.

They can also improve your pets straightness with different layouts that help your pet to stretch their back and improve their spinal flexibility making them more balanced and straight.

Good pole exercises come in all shapes and sizes and if you’d like to know more you can download your free pole layout guide here:

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