On the clock

Posted 19th October 2021

Check out This Esme’s fave polework exercise


Circles are the foundation of good flatwork, but if your schooling needs spicing up, why not add some poles into the mix? I love this clockface exercise because it tests your circle riding, your pony’s suppleness, whether you can see a stride and even builds strength and balance – what’s not to love?

Exercise one: Two’s a pair

Set it up

You’ll need four poles for this exercise, positioned at the four points of a 20m circle. For example, at G, E, D and B.

To begin with, it’s best to work over two poles to help you get to grips with the clockface. This will help your pony get used to the poles and make sure you’ve perfected your approach before adding in more obstacles.

Here’s how…


  1. Starting in trot, ride a large circle around the outside of the poles.
  2. Look around the circle, turning your shoulders slightly to the inside and asking your pony to bend around the turn.
  3. When you’re ready, choose one of the poles at B or E and ride over the middle of it. Look up and maintain the bend.
  4. Look to the opposite pole, riding around the one at D or G, and keep your pony bending around your inside leg as you trot over it.
  5. Change the rein and do the same in the other direction. Remember not to straighten your pony over the pole – he should maintain the bend all the way round the circle.
  6. If you feel up to it, have a go at this exercise in canter, too. Remember to keep your pony moving forwards and look up and around the circle to help him understand what you’re asking.

Grab your copy of December PONY, on sale 20 October 2021 to get some more awesome polework exercises to try with your pony!








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