Horse Training – Improve Your Circles

Classical Dressage, Dressage training, horse training, horse riding, hunter judge, show ring hunter

Lateral supplenes will improve your horse's performance

Lateral suppleness includes getting the horse bending, moving sideways and turns. It incorporates circling, turns, changes of rein and lateral movements such as leg yields and shoulder in.

Most riders find the horse is stiffer or more difficult to bend or turn in one direction than the other. To help develop the horse equally it is important to perform similar exercises on each side or perform additional exercises on the harder side to bring it up to par with the horse’s softer side.

If you find your horse drifting in on a circle and you are unable to hold the horse’s shoulder from ‘falling’ in try this exercise.

 Place six jump rails along the arc of the circle. You will find that it will be necessary to pass through the poles in a straight line with slight bends.

This will help keep the horse focused and help guide the horse while you can ride and concentrate on other aspects of the circle.

Dressage movements, improve Lateral Suppleness, ride a circle, improve circles Use the poles to help guide your horse

The poles will act as guides to funnel the horse around the circle. They will also assist you in keeping the horse’s shoulders from bulging out or falling in on a circle.

 While performing this exercise here are some tips to think about while riding the circle.

  1.  Do a position check – Head up, eyes up looking and focusing around the circle. Heels down, sitting straight with equal weight in each seat bone and equal weight in each stirrup.
  2. Maintain your contact – Inside leg into outside rein. Keep your outside rein snug to maintain the support on the outside of the horse.
  3. Keep equal bend throughout the horse’s body. The horse should have the same bend from poll to tail. Avoid having too much head and neck bend.
  4. Allow the horse to move forward. Maintain the energy of the horse by riding from the hindquarters up into the hand.


Set a goal in mind while riding. Maybe it is to keep a forward trot on contact for 1 full circle or preparing for an upcoming show.


About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
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6 Responses to Horse Training – Improve Your Circles

  1. Carol says:

    Great post, very useful.

  2. Pingback: Why should I ride Circles | Thistle Ridge Equestrian Services

  3. Laura says:

    Thank you Carol for your comment. I love to write and enjoy posting these training tips. if you have any questions please feel free to ask them!

  4. Really interesting post has help with my horse

  5. dryden says:

    I love horses! and I like ur post. its really informative and gives me more insight how to take care of my horses. :)

  6. Laura says:

    Thank you for your comments. I appreciate them. Please keep usposted on how you are doing with your site as well!

Comments are closed.