Groundpole Spacing

Hi folks! I’m looking to create a reference graph that outlines average groundpole/cavaletti spacing based on the gait and also the size of the horse. I understand the info is out there on the Googles, but sifting through so many pages for what I’m looking for specifically is becoming tedious. So- Here’s what I’m looking for… (solve for “x” lol)

Small Pony: W= x” T= x” C= x”
Large Pony: W= x” T= x” C= x”
Horse: W= x” T= x” C= x”
WB (16.3+): W= x” T= x” C= x”


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Im curious as well. I never know how far to space them for trotting ground poles.

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To keep it really simple: It’s around 3’ for walk, 4’ for trot. Set up one pole and watch where the front foot lands, it should be halfway to the next pole. Set up the 2nd pole and see how you did before you set up more. :wink: You really can’t make rules simply based on the size of the horse/pony, because they can be small with a big stride and big with a small stride. My large ponies, for the most part, take horse sized strides.


Get a good Cavaletti book, it’s all in there :slight_smile: Plus you have the benefit of tons of exercises in progression. I highly recommend

But yes, around 3’ and 4’ for walk and trot. Around 10’ for canter. All for horses.

Adjust up or down based on the NATURAL stride length for the purposes of warming up, and for acclimating to going through poles.

Adjust up or down for more advanced exercises teaching the horse to shorten or lengthen his stride.

PS - teaching a shorter walk stride is fairly advanced stuff, it’s easy to mess up the walk trying to do this unless you really know what you’re doing. Teaching shorter t/c strides is more advanced than teaching longer ones, as it require more strength on the horse’s part to gather his body more.


I’m considering making a tool for people to use as a guideline, and would love to hear peoples thoughts on something like that, but I’m at a loss as to where to post such a discussion topic :thinking: Pole work is used by dressage, H/J, and Eventers alike but I feel like posting the same topic in each category would be obnoxious. Maybe Horse Care? Around the Farm??

Off Course. The general horse discussion forum.

I can’t help with numbers, but would suggest pole spacing for “honies” (14.2-15.2) be separated from “horses.”

See if this helps at all. I’ve had this for a couple of years. For the walk, I have a horse with an average/larger natural stride and did 3 feet for walking poles. My goal at the time was to make him compress and pick up his hocks and not be lazy so YMMV.


Great chart. Thanks for sharing,

My favorite book on this is Claire Lilly’s Schooling with Ground Poles.

I like it because it includes exercises on circles, in straight lines and in patterns, and always explains the gymnastic purpose of every configuration.