Your Horse (UK) - - Your Horse's Training -

“Once DB2 is warmed up and ready to work, the first thing we ask him to do is to work on a cir­cle,” ex­plains Katie. “It sounds like a re­ally sim­ple start, but it’s a use­ful ex­er­cise for him as he can get a lit­tle tense. And, of course, even to do the most ba­sic move­ments, bend and sup­ple­ness is im­por­tant. “DB2 is get­ting sup­pler all the time, but it’s some­thing we’ll prac­tise in each school­ing ses­sion, rid­ing cir­cles of dif­fer­ent sizes and ask­ing him to ac­cept and bend around the in­side leg.”

How to ride it

Go large around the arena in walk, en­sur­ing your horse is work­ing for­ward from your leg. If your horse can be a bit sharp at the start of a ses­sion, take up trot quickly as he’ll ap­pre­ci­ate get­ting on with the work. It’s a good idea to al­low him to do this as it will help him to re­lax. At the A or C end of the school, start a 20m cir­cle us­ing your in­side leg on the girth to create the bend. Your out­side leg is be­hind the girth to pre­vent his quar­ters from swing­ing out. Your in­side hand is flex­ing slightly to the in­side, but with­out pulling him round. Your horse may back off your leg, as DB2 tends to do. If this hap­pens, en­cour­age him for­wards with your leg, giv­ing slightly with the rein so he feels he has some­where to go. Keep rid­ing on the cir­cle, ask­ing for more ac­cep­tance of the bend each time you pass your start­ing point. Change the rein and ride the ex­er­cise the other way. Aim to keep the rhythm as you do so.

Sim­ple cir­cle work is a re­ally use­ful tool

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