With the indoor season imminent now is the time to think about gymnastic training with your horse. International showjumper Jay Halim has a great exercise to help improve your horse’s balance, control and acceptance of the aids.


Canter poles on a circle is one of my favourite exercises, as you use the shape of the circle to balance the horse between hand and leg. You can feel when they fall in on your inside leg, or out through their shoulder, so it’s easier to correct.

I use this exercise with young horses that have a weak canter, as it encourages them to go into self-carriage, and it’s also a good gymnastic exercise for older horses.

Stretch it out

Place the poles three yards apart (2.7m, or three of your strides) on a 20m circle. If you have an inexperienced horse you can start with three poles and then progressively make it more difficult, by adding in more.

Establish a nice canter and start with a softer, lower neck to encourage them to stretch over the poles.

Once they are going well, you can start to raise the poles.

For more great advice from Watch Jay Halim’s Masterclass Xtra on H&C Play