The Top 10 Fun Ground Pole Exercises For Horses

Fun ground pole exercises for horses help keep them fit and develop their skill. Once your horse master one, you’ll just want to try more!

Horses need exercise to keep their bodies healthy. Every step they take keeps the circulation of fluids in their legs going. This is why horses stand so much! Without proper circulation, your horses’ health will deteriorate.

You can keep your horse moving by doing ground pole exercises with them. In this article, I share the top 10 exercises your horse will enjoy and give you some important details for when you get started.

The Top 10 Fun Ground Pole Exercises Tor Horses

Ground pole exercises are an excellent way to get your horse fit. You can look at different arena plans for new ideas about laying the poles for your horse. Here are some great ones!

Long Lines

Start by laying down a long line of poles across the center of the arena. You’ll need a lot of poles for this exercise to work – no less than 5. 

You should consider your horse’s size when setting the poles up, so they have enough space to bounce when they trot. 

The best part about this simple layout is that you can do a lot of different movements with it. Your horse can move straight along the line, make directional changes, weave and even move lengthwise. 

 fun ground pole exercises for horses

Stick Figures

You only need five poles for a stick figure layout. This pattern works great for cantering too!

Starts by placing one pole across a middle pole and circling to the right over the arms and legs. Repeat this on the left side. 

The Box

Set up poles to look like a box. This is easy to do, and your horse can trot in and out of this shape. 

You can also have them stop in the middle or walk diagonally through the box.

The Fish

You’ll need about 8 poles to set up this exercise, and there are many different exercising opportunities with this layout.

Double Boxes

A double Boxes layout needs 11 poles. You should build two boxes with 3 trot poles between them.

You can have your horse go down the center, circle to the left, or bounce through the boxes.

When your horse exits one box, they can circle and go through the other. 

Hunter Course

Setting up this course takes a few poles, but it’s an excellent workout for you and your horse.

The hunter course builds course and memorization skills. It also helps horses work on their flexibility. 

You can let your horse canter or trot through this course. 

Half Circle Fan

To create a half-circle fan, set 8 poles up in a half-circle. The base of each fan should be 2 feet apart, the midway point 4 feet, and the top of the poles 6 feet.

This setup gives you the flexibility to approach exercises at different levels. It allows you to get your horse to lengthen or shorten their stride as needed, and is a great flexibility exercise.

Plus Sign

The plus sign is easy to set up, but don’t let the simplicity fool you.

This setup allows your horse to trot around each pole in circles in a cloverleaf pattern. It’s great practice for focus and will help you determine your horse’s speed through different gaits.

 How do you trot over poles?

Giant W

With this setup, your horse can create circles after every pole and go straight across each bar.

S Shape

You’ll need 8 trot poles to create this layout. 

Your horse will need to bend their body through the shape, forcing them to engage their hind end. This exercise will help create a bouncier trot.

Horse Starting Age for Ground Pole Exercises

Horses can be introduced to ground poles from as young as two weeks old. This may break the monotony of working on a lunge line. Always ensure that both you and your horse are protected during each exercise.

Horse Resting Guidelines During Ground Pole Exercises

It’s important to allow your horse to rest between exercises. Give your horse a rest period of at least 5 minutes between each exercise or the time it takes you to set up the next one. Allowing your horse to rest will ensure a more enjoyable experience for you both.

 How often should you do pole work with your horse?

To Sum It Up

Exercise improves fluid circulation, flexibility, muscle strength, bone development, and digestion for horses. It’s important to keep your horse moving, but equally important to let them rest when they need to.

Ground pole exercises are a fun way to ensure your horse stays active while developing their brain. You should start with the easiest layouts and work your horse’s skill level from there. Remember to have fun and treat your horse every time they do as you say!

I hope this article was helpful and that you’ll try some or all of the ground pole exercises I listed. If you have any other questions about equine training, pop them in the comments!


How often should you do pole work with your horse?

You should do pole work with your horse two or three times weekly. Start with 5-minute sessions and work your way up from there.

Is pole work good for horses?


Pole work can help improve your horse's fitness, stamina, and flexibility.

How do you teach a horse to straddle a pole?

You can teach your horse to straddle a pole by placing them at one end of a safe pole, with their feet at either side.

Straddle the pole yourself while facing your horse. Pull your horse toward you, encouraging them to use their right front foot.

Once your horse moves enough, release your pull. Praise your horse if they move successfully on their own.

How do you trot over poles?

You can start teaching your horse how to trot over poles by leading them horse in-hand over it.