Hello to another article on Hot Horse Exercises. This exercise will teach you how to consistently ride a perfect circle of any size, anywhere even out in the field without the aids of walls or fences and have your horse listen to your aids!
THE PERFECT CIRCLE
It is very surprising how many people who think they ride a good circle actually don't, so we must know the definition of an inaccurate circle, which is one that is not forward and on the aids. It is one where every stride is different, perhaps a different tempo or a it can also be a different bend. A perfect circle is very easy for your horse to maintain his balance and regularity and by teaching your horse the perfect circle, he will actually start listening to you.
Every stride of your circle should be as close to the previous stride and as close to the one after it in order for it to be “perfect.” A circle, also, needs to be a circle!
This is an excellent exercise for you and your horse. Start by walking your circle at a walk on a loose rein only using your legs and seat to steer. You can ride any size circle between 10 and 20 meters. Leave the track at E and return to E and count the strides out loud of the inside hind leg. Your count should sound much like a metronome, each stride should have regularity. Is your tempo the same on all the strides? Harder to ride than it seems, doesn’t it?
If the first half of your circle has more strides than the second half, your horse is rushing back to the wall at E and falling in on your inside aids. If the first half has less strides than the second half, then your horse is falling out the shoulder and is drifting larger. Ride the circle again, counting and comparing both halves of the circle.
Imagine that there are 4 points to your circle with each quarter being the same size. Think of each quarter section being 6 strides. As you ride your 24 stride circle pay attention to where your 6th, 12th, 18th and 24th stride fall. Are they at the quarter point, halfway, three-quarter and finally at the letter E? If not, keep riding it paying attention to where your horse either falls in or falls out.
Now that you have an accurate 24 stride circle, change the size to a 16 stride circle, 4 segments of 4 strides each. Use more outside aids for the first quarter and more inside aids for the last quarter. If you think of the circle in terms of the number of strides instead of circle size and ride an equal number of strides in each quarter of your circle paying attention to the regularity of your circle, you will ride the perfect circle. In addition, your hot horse will be listening to you at all times!
Now go and ride that circle!