To help sharpen your horse to your aids, practice the following exercise.
Place 2 jump rails approximately 14 feet apart on one side of a circle. Start by riding a circle and incorporating the poles within the circle. Due to the poles being on a straight line, ride the poles in a straight line each time you approach them. This means that part of your circle will have an arc; and a small portion, where the poles are, will have a flat section.
On the portion of the circle that is an arc keep the horse’s body on the same arc as the circle by riding with your inside leg on the girth with your inside rein to create bend, outside leg behind the girth and outside rein for support. This will
help establish bend and be useful as a suppleness exercise. When you approach the flat portion of the circle, straighten your horse by using outside rein and leg.
As you and your horse become accustomed to the poles perform a transition in between the poles. Start at the walk and HALT each time you pass through between the poles. Once you have successfully and consistently perfrmed a halt between the poles, complete the exercise at the trot with a halt in the middle of the poles.
To do this exercise properly, your horse must be going forward and be obedient and willing to act on your downward transition aids as well as your upward transition aids.
~TIP~ Plan your ride and look forward to the poles on the ground. Aim to the middle of the poles by keeping your legs ‘hugging’ the horse and your reins maintaining contact.