Thursday, July 30, 2015

Square Pen Work for Horses

I have been keeping my geldings in a 70x130 foot corral with a 12x32 foot pen in case I needed to separate one of the horses to heal an injury or whatever reason. I decided to reconfigure this arrangement so that each horse has it's own pen, so I have been building rectangle pens, 25x45 feet each.

After I had three of these pens configured and waiting on the boys to start the overhead covers, I got it into my head to ride in one of the pens as the square corners offered something different from my round pen or the oval arena.

I was mildly surprised by the amount of things we could work on in a square or rectangle pen. I started on trotting to a corner to work on not allowing the horse to anticipate stopping or slowing down and we practiced backing straight using the rail as a guide.

Then we worked on trotting into a corner then making a turn on the back end (turn on the haunches) pointing the horse to the next corner. At this point we are off the rail by a few feet. Then trotting to the next corner and doing a turn on the fore hand, swinging the back end towards the rail, putting us up against the rail.

We continued this until on one of the turns, either on the fore hand or haunches, you could turn in the opposite direction, then repeat the pattern, albeit in the opposite direction. There are many other things you can do, such as stopping further away from a corner and making an 180 degree turn, again either on the fore hand or haunches, putting you going into the opposite direction. Doubling on the fence is another good drill. Also using the fence as a obstacle to practice side passes. You can do the same exercises in an arena, but in most cases we tend to stay off the arena fence. The diagram below just shows a few things you can do in a square or rectangle pen. The diagram below is just a couple things that you can do.

In the video below, hopefully I can give some of you an better idea, than just a diagram, for working a horse, especially young horses, in a square or rectangle pen. 

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