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A square out of poles may be one of the most innovative exercises made of a minimal number of poles. It helps you towards a relaxed and balanced canter, to keep an even tempo, to work on your position and your horse’s responses. Let’s look at some of the common ways to ride your square!
On a straight line
This is one of the ways to introduce your horse to the poles at the beginning of a session. You may also trot these as you are warming up your horse.
On a circle
Riding the square on a circle is another piece you can use at the beginning. Make sure you don’t override the turn, as you want to keep the two poles part of a circle.
On an eight
Ideally, you would make a lead change as you come out of the square. Be aware to overcome the square on a straight line in the middle – sometimes, the lead change may force you to dodge to left or right.
On a four-leaf clover
Riding the square as a four-leaf clover means you cover one quarter with each turn. Again, be aware not to dodge to left or right, as it would cost you space you need to ride a beautiful turn. The smaller the turn, the harder it is for your horse (and for you), so start with wider turns and make them progressively smaller.
On a four-leaf clover with a lead change
Cover the whole shape of a clover, then make a lead change and do the same clover to the opposite side!
On a four-leaf clover with a halt
Every second (or third, or fourth – it is your choice) time you are getting over the poles, make a halt inside the square. It might be hard for your horse at first, but most of the horses get the grasp soon enough.
On a counted four-leaf clover
Set a number of strides you want to do in your turn while you cover one leaf of your clover and maintain the same amount of strides for the whole piece. It is harder than it seems!