In my previous posting, I spoke of the "hot" horse and his reaction to your aids. This exercise will help teach your horse to accept that leg aid by moving in and out on the circle. Depending on how your horse reacts, you can ride this exercise in the walk, trot or canter.
This exercise called The Flower Pot consists of only circles which relaxes the horse and is perfect for the tense, hot, stiff horse as it works on unlocking the jaw and top line. This exercise is based on a twenty meter circle.
Begin on a 20 meter cirlce (black circle in diagram). As you approach the intersecting circles of the Flower Pot, you have a choice of:
A: turning and circling out, or
B: Circling in.
Your decision will be based on how well your horse is going. If your horse is moving forward, light in the forehand and relaxed, you should choose to circle in staying on the same rein. If your horse is stiff, hot and heavy, you should choose to circle to the outside. Circling in keeps the horse relaxed, asks for more agility by bending properly around the smaller circle (blue - 15 meter circle). If your horse is amazing and is going very well, ask more of your horse by choosing the smaller 10 meter circle.
Circling out makes your horse listen to the half halt. The change of direction forces your horse to rebalance, shifting his weight over the hind end and to slow down...as he must think of where his feet are and to change the bend which unlocks his jaw. Depending on how hot the horse, you will choose the 15 circle out (to rebalance and relax) or the 10 meter to slow down your hot horse and to soften, bend and rebalance.
As long as your horse is resisting during this exercise, it is very important to keep with it. If your horse is going well, it is fine to ride large once around to get back the impulsion. Continuing with this exercise when your horse is not fully relaxed and responsive is what makes this exercise so effective!