Train Your Horse to Pole Bend

ArticleHow to - horse trainingThursday 14 January 2010
Training Your Horse to Pole Bend

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Pole bending is a popular rodeo sport, especially in North America. There are six poles which are placed 21 feet apart in a straight line. The aim of pole bending is to ride the horse alongside the six poles, turning around at the end one. On the way back you weave in and out of the poles and turn around again at the end, weaving your way back up. Repeat the weave one more time and then ride back to the starting line opposite from where you started. This guide will help when training a horse to pole bend.

Training a Horse to Pole Bend


1.    To begin the horse training process, walk the horse through the poles at least four or five times, using the pattern you would when riding. This is important when training a horse to pole bend, as is making sure the turns are correct. This way the horse will soon become familiar with what is happening and what you want him to do. This aspect of the horse training will have to be repeated three or four times a day for about four days for the horse to fully understand.

2.    The next step when training a horse is to repeat this process, but at a trot. Repeat this part of the horse training three or for times a day but for about six days this time. This is a bit more complicated and will take longer to learn. Allow the horse to pole bend and his own rate but make sure there aren’t any mistakes being made in the turns or whilst weaving. This goes for you and the horse.

3.    The best place to carry out training a horse to pole bend would be a rodeo arena. It is important that the ground is soft so that it cushions the horse’s legs. The hard turns when it gets to the end poles put a lot of strain onto the legs of a horse and if the ground is hard, it can do permanent damage. Carrying out steps 1 and 2 on hard ground will be ok as long as you don’t move up to a run.

4.    The next part of the horse training is to slowly lope the pattern a few times. Make sure the horse makes no mistakes. If the training is going well, start to get a bit faster with each attempt. If you or the horse makes a mistake, slow down again for the next few runs to get the rhythm back and then start to add speed again.

5.    When you and the horse feel comfortable with the run. Make sure you keep it fresh in the memory by trotting and loping through it a couple of times per month. If you do it too often the horse will start to act up and make mistakes because he is starting to dislike the horse training.

Tips & Advice


•    As with any horse training. The horse should be properly warmed up before doing any serious exercise. The best way to warm a horse up before beginning to train a horse is to walk, trot, and then lope for between 20-30 minutes before the training commences.

•    Training a horse to pole bend can be difficult. Don’t attempt to do so until you feel the horse is ready. The horse needs to know how to stop, turn, move forward, back up and give in to pressure when asked. A horse that has been previously trained will be much be much better at pole bending than a horse that hasn’t.

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