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Pick Up Pole

Pick Up Pole.jpeg


This obstacle is usually run in conjunction with ‘Spear the Ring’ or with the ‘Knockball’. If it is combined into one obstacle the pick up the spearing and the deposit are all judged as one obstacle. However they can be separated into 3 different obstacles. For this reason they will be listed here separately.


One open top, well-balanced, and lightly weighted barrel. 

Wooden, bamboo or metal pole, between approximately 2.4 and 3.5 metres in length. A wooden pole must have a diameter of 28mm. The 2.4 metre is suggested for Lead-Line, Introductory and Preparatory.

The pole is placed in the barrel, butt end down. The tip end should be easily identified as such by a pronounced taper or distinctive colouring.

The rider may request permission of the judge to adjust position of the pole. Adjusting the position of the pole without permission will be considered showing an obstacle to the horse and thus be grounds for disqualification from the phase.

  • At Lead-Line and Introductory the obstacle will be performed at walk only.

  • At Preparatory the obstacle may be performed at either the walk or the trot. The judge will consider the additional difficulty of the trot when awarding marks.

  • At Preliminary the obstacle must be performed at the trot.

  • At Novice and above the obstacle must be performed at canter.

  • To be awarded optimum score the horse must be travelling on the correct canter lead (right canter if rider is right handed, left canter lead if rider is left handed).

This obstacle may be used in conjunction with Spear Ring and Deposit Pole and it is first in the sequence. When used in a connected series these obstacles may be scored as a single obstacle. If there are other obstacles encountered between them, then they are scored separately (e.g. if Pickup Pole and Spear Ring obstacles are performed in sequence, and another obstacle is performed before Deposit, then Pickup Pole and Spear Ring are scored as a single obstacle and Deposit Pole is scored as a separate obstacle).

Horse and rider approach the barrel at the required pace for the level and retrieve the pole. The rider may circle the barrel while picking up the pole, though this is considered less difficult and will be judged accordingly. At Intro walk is the required pace, at prep walk or trot, at prelim trot and all those above this level canter.

If the Pole is picked up butt end first then the Judge will give a lower score.

If the pole is dropped before the Deposit barrel, the rider must dismount, retrieve the pole, and place the pole in the pickup barrel before remounting.

If the pole bounces out of the Deposit barrel, the rider must dismount and place the pole into the Deposit barrel. Failure to dismount and retrieve the pole will result in disqualification.

Exception: Riders at Lead Line, Introductory, Preparatory and Juniors will not dismount. A member of the Ground Crew will pick up the pole and hold it upright, butt end down, for the competitor to take hold and continue the obstacle.

If the pole has not been replaced after the previous competitor, the current rider may stop while the pole is replaced, and then continue with no penalty.

WEDU Rulebook V4


  • The judge(s) will consider the way in which the horse approaches the obstacle, its reaction to the movement of the pole, and the relaxed manner in which the rider uses the pole.

  • The judge(s) will give a lower mark for any alteration of the regularity of tempo or change of movement.

  • The judge(s) will give a mark lower than 5 for knocking down the barrel or receptacle.

  • If the rider drops the pole and does not dismount and replace the pole to continue the obstacle, it will result in disqualification. Exception at lower levels, where the rider remains mounted while the pole is given to them.

  • If the rider is right-handed, the right canter lead will score higher than the left canter lead; if the rider is left-handed, the left canter lead will score higher than the right canter lead.


Sally Thorne comments & tips from Waikora Equestrian Retreat

See the Spear the ring obstacle as all training tips for this and deposit the pole will be discussed together.​

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