Pole Bending Basics
 By Fantasy Farms   •   1st Feb 2011   •   16,128 views   •   20 comments
Pole bending is a timed event where you have six poles evenly spaced apart. Pole bending is a solo event; just one horse and one rider.

Pole BendingPole bending poles are made out of PVC plastic and are typically white with red or blue rings on them. The six poles are arranged in a straight line normally 21 feet apart. The pole closet to the timer, is 21 feet from the timers. Poles are six feet high with the bases no larger than 14 inches. If you happen to knock over a pole, it is a five second penalty. To start your pattern, you can choose to run on either side of the poles. If you pick the right side to start on, you run down to the pole at the end of the arena and make a left turn around it. You then have to weave the poles and weave back. After you have weaved down and then back, you then run straight home. A good pole run is around 20-22 seconds.

To start, you should look where you want to go. Look straight down to the end of the wall. Stay a good distance away from the poles when you are running down. I have seen so many people get too close to the poles and their horse will start to weave before they turn the first pole. As you turn your first pole, your eyes should be looking at the last pole. When you are weaving, try not to cross your hands over your horseís neck. If have a pole ahead of you and you are weaving to the right, you should lift your left rein slightly and use your left leg. You are using an in-direct rein. This method will help prevent your horse from knocking over a pole. If you are weaving to the left, slightly lift your right rein and use your right leg. When you are running home, run all the way home. Donít start to slow your horse down until you have finished crossing the finish line. Also, you should never stop your horse abruptly after you have finished running. Stopping suddenly and abruptly puts pressure on your horses hocks and legs causing your horse to become sore. Make a circle to help slow your horse down instead of halting abruptly.

Pole Bending

Before you do pole bending, you need to consider the condition of your horse. Pole bending is a timed event and you want your horse to be in peak condition to run. You as a rider should also be in shape as well. If your horse is a little on the chunky side, you can do lots of long trotting to get your horse to slim down as well as regular riding. Your tack should be in good, working order. You donít have to have a barrel racing saddle to do pole bending. As long as you have a saddle that fits you and your horse, that you feel comfortable riding in, you are fine. Breast collars are optional. Breast collars prevent your saddle from sliding back. Tie downs are optional as well. They can help balance your horse and prevent them from tossing their head. Your reins should be short and should be connected like barrel or roping reins.

I recommend that you use splint boots on your horses front legs. Splint boots help prevent hyperextension of your horses fetlock and other lower leg injuries. They also absorb 26% of the energy from hoof concussion.

If your horse wears front shoes and has been known to pull shoes, your horse should wear bell boots. Bell boots will help prevent your horse from pulling a shoe. Some horses knick themselves in their back legs. If your horse scratches his back legs or needs extra support, wearing splint boots on the back legs is a good idea. You as a rider should wear a western styled shirt. You donít need to wear a show shirt, as a judge does not judge the class; a timer judges it. Overall, you should wear a long sleeved, western styled shirt, boots, jeans and a helmet/hat. Check the rules to determine if helmets are required. While some organizations donít require helmets, itís a good idea to wear one.

Most states and countries have gymkhana shows that include pole bending. If you have never tried pole bending, I think you should try it. Itís a fast paced event that is lots of fun!
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BME Sports  
This is very helpful for new riders! Good job!
  Feb 1, 2011  •  12,216 views
Great article! :D Extremely helpful for those interested in it and wanting to know more!
Pole bending= ♥ LOVE
Great job!
  Feb 1, 2011  •  12,223 views
Balla Eclectic  MOD 
WooHoo - looks like fun.
Thanks for the insight into what looks like a fast sport Fantasy Farms.
  Feb 1, 2011  •  12,222 views
Seven Sins  
great article i have always wanted to do pole bending
  Feb 1, 2011  •  12,200 views
Very informative article, looks like great fun to do
  Feb 2, 2011  •  12,226 views
Ive never tried pole bending before.. I will have to now! It seems so thrilling, racing against the clock to weave in and out the poles.(:
  Feb 2, 2011  •  12,219 views
Wanderin Boy Memorial  MOD 
Great article ! Very informative =)
I don't do polo bending, but I did do something similar in my english lesson
  Feb 2, 2011  •  12,206 views
that vis really good :)
  Feb 2, 2011  •  12,197 views
T E M P E S T  
Great article!
  Feb 2, 2011  •  12,256 views
Great article! :)
  Feb 2, 2011  •  12,200 views
Dark Star  
I'm suprised this was accepted since last year, I wrote an article on pole bending too.
  Feb 2, 2011  •  12,196 views
Nice, I have done Pole Bending a couple times.
  60 days ago  •  12,201 views
Very nice article. You forgot to mention that you need to work your horse on flying lead changes. The correct lead has a great deal to do with time. As your horse leaves and pole and prepares to cut the next one, the horse should do a flying lead change to the correct lead. When a horse is running poles correctly, it almost looks like it is skipping. Two to three strides on one lead and then two to three strides on another. This also helps to keep balance and keeps the driving side of the horse pushing harder. Correct leads also helps to reduce stress on bones and tendons.
  60 days ago  •  12,280 views
very helpful,

good job!
  60 days ago  •  12,303 views
I'm going to have to try that!
  60 days ago  •  12,221 views
dont think we do this in the uk as an event but i can remember doing this in gymkhana games for the pony club
  60 days ago  •  12,210 views
This article is WAY more informative than other pole bending articles I have read on here! ) Nicely written! I love pole bending, suuper fun!
  60 days ago  •  12,234 views
King of Wings  
im sure people have found this article very interesting!
  56 days ago  •  12,241 views
That sounds like such fun, I'm gonna hopefully give it a go using some spare traffic cones xD It should help my pony be a bit sharper and listen to me better for show jumping ^^
  41 days ago  •  12,199 views
MS Horses  
Great article!
  39 days ago  •  12,215 views
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