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Using The Pole To Help Your Horsemanship

For the past 5 years, I have been practising my horsemanship skills in “private” with the use of a Garrocha (gaa-roach-a), (a 12-foot pole).
I have been on a personal journey to learn about the traditions of the Vaquero (the working Spanish Cowboy) and only have scratched the surface of all of the knowledge to be gained. Part of that journey is dreaming about owning a noble Andalusian or Lusitano someday but that has not held me back with my little quarter horse who continues to give me so much try.

I am by no means an expert regarding these traditions but what I have enjoyed is the positive effects of using the Garrocha for my own horsemanship skills. I love trying new things with my horse and have always felt that cross-training keeps both of us in a learning mode. Because the foundation of ground and riding skills are in place with him, both of us need to continue to challenge these same skills by asking something more and something different…raising the bar for both my little horse and me.
In the Vaquero tradition, the Garrocha was used as a pole to fend off cattle, or as a method of testing the temperament of the bulls by pushing on the hip to eventually trip the bull. The Garrocha traditions are also applied in a beautiful performance, using Spanish guitar music, where the horse and rider gracefully dance and canter around and under the Garrocha.


Click on this link and be ready to be mesmerized at the beauty of horse and rider.

For me, the Garrocha helps to improve my focus, impulsion, straightness, balance, and my goal to ride a “perfect” circle. It challenges me to stay light with my cues as riding with your core is essential when you are riding with the ‘pole”. You do not have the use of two reins as you are carrying both of them in one hand. You will need instead, a great deal of intention and focus, balanced riding with a neutral spine, and your legs for support if needed. It has simply all of the essential elements of learning to ride with softness and harmony.

The great benefit to working with the Garrocha though has been confidence and fun. Who knew a 13-foot pole could be the catalyst for so much. You will find that with a little approach and retreat your horse will love it. It gives him a focus as well and he enjoys connecting to it and to you.

Carrying and working around the pole can be a little intimidating at first, for both you and your horse but what comes in time is the improvement of your horsemanship skills and the contentment of your horse who has a job.

Because there are so many intrinsic improvements to our horsemanship while playing with the Garrocha, I have decided to teach a 2-day clinic called the Essentials of Riding, Using The Garrocha. I hope you can join me for this Beginner Garrocha clinic. I know that you will have fun and learn lots about you and your horse.

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