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.
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.
- 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.
- Maintain your contact – Inside leg into outside rein. Keep your outside rein snug to maintain the support on the outside of the horse.
- 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.
- 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.