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Circles

This is a discussion on Circles within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Riding true circles
  • How to ride a 20m circle dressage

 
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    10-02-2010, 02:46 AM
  #1
Green Broke
Circles

Okay when I ride circles, Buzz is stiff?? I'm not to sure how to explain it but when I'm going around I have his nose slightly to the inside that causes him to make the circle really really small, I try and push him out with my inside leg it sort of works but then we go in small again.
I also try directing him out with the outside rein but then that's leads to his head facing the outside of the circle while still going around..

Any soloution or will it just take time.
I think it may be because he is stiff, but I can lunge him on both sides and it looks like he goes around fine.
     
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    10-02-2010, 06:40 AM
  #2
Trained
Ok so your problem here is getting bend. If you move his jaw to the inside and his body follows, he lacks bend and thus you will never ride a true circle.
The mare that I'm riding at the moment is a little bugger with bend, she likes to brace, run and come heavily onto her shoulders.
It is best if you have eyes on the ground to remind you, as there are a lot of things to remember here!

To start with, you need to have the aim of having your horse long and low, with correct, inside bend before you even think about bringing him up and shortening the frame.
First off, your shoulders are what controls bend initially. So come onto a 20m circle, and move your inside shoulder back, and outside shoulder forward, so your essentially moving to point your 'girls' into the centre of the circle. The smaller the circle, the more your shoulders should turn.
Now, I know in dressage all you hear is 'inside leg to outside rein' 24/7, and this is true, you SHOULD ride inside leg - outside rein, however this has to be trained and unless the horse will follow and give to the inside rein, you have no hope of having your horse 'through' and in correct bend.

Move your reins slightly to the outside, and *gasp* allow your outside rein. You can even have a loop in it *shock horror*. But, you MUST keep a constant contact with the inside rein. Yes, opposite of what the 'ideal' is. Don't worry, there IS a point to this ;) Take your inside rein across slightly to the outside. Weight your inside stirrup/seat bone and put your inside leg on firmly at the girth.
In this position, you are asking the horse to bend to the inside and wrap itself around your inside aids, maintaining and following the contact on the inside rein. It won't take long, and the horse will respond to this aid by 'giving' its body and asking to stretch/reach down towards the ground, while in true bend. As soon as this occurs, allow the reins (Yes, STILL keep contact on that inside rein, there should never be a loop in it or you have lost your connection to the hind legs, this doesn't mean pull on the rein, just feel the mouth).

If you have trouble, move onto a 15 or 12m circle and do the same exercise, the smaller circle makes it harder for the horse NOT to bend.

Once you are getting the downward stretch, consistent contact on the inside rein and give through the ribs, you can start asking for slight counter flexion and a few yielding steps of the hind quarters to the inside. By asking the horse to counter flex and yield to the inside for a stride or 2 each circle, you are suppling the back and increasing strength in the topline. This should be your warmup each ride.
To get counter flexion, turn your shoulders to the outside, weight your outside seat bone and put your outside leg on. It may help you to look at the horse's outside hip as you do this to really over your shoulders and weight over. As soon as the horse takes a step across to the inside of the circle with the hindquarters, go back to true bend by moving the shoulders back to the inside etc.

From here, start to introduce figure of 8's. If you have managed to get true bend, you should be able to change the rein without even the slightest sign of the horse coming above the bit. Change rein using your shoulders, turn the shoulders to the direction you want to change to, and the rest of your body will follow. Use your new inside leg to drive the horse up to meet the bridle, and tada, the horse stays soft, bent and round through the change of rein.

The horse is now accepting and following the inside rein, and you can move onto using your outside out 'properly'. Go back onto a 20 (or 12)m circle, keeping your shoulders turning, maintaining inside contact, but now you can ask for the turn using your outside aids. So put your outside leg on, take up contact on your outside rein and imagine you are yielding the horse's shoulders with your outside aids, picture riding a pirouette ;)

All of this type of work will really help to give you a supple, consistent, comfortable horse and will build up an excellent topline if you use this as your warmup each ride.
     
    10-02-2010, 06:59 AM
  #3
Green Broke
Wow that was a lot of info, but I think I got the guts of it.
I am working on getting him to work long and low, that's why I was asking this question as it has never really bothered me before, that he was horrible at circles, but now I see how everything is related and to get a well rounded and working horse he need to be pretty decent at everthing.
I am planning on getting lessons soon-ish, when I can afford it and have the money.

I think I am going to have to re read this a few times to fully understand it and remember everything

But to sum up the top section
Inside rein tight outside loose. Inside rein shift to outside slightly. Shift weight into outside leg put pressure on inside leg on the girth. To achieve long and low?
Smaller circles harder to achieve bend? But then why did you say do them?

Also because I have achieved the long and low with Buzz yet, this will take longer to achieve a 'true' circle
     
    10-02-2010, 09:03 AM
  #4
Foal
Hey. You can ride with him to the inner position and through the neck? If so, try to tighten the reins inside and then press with inner thigh. If this fails, then knock him with a whip on the shoulder.
     
    10-02-2010, 05:55 PM
  #5
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTree    
wow that was a lot of info, but I think I got the guts of it.
I am working on getting him to work long and low, that's why I was asking this question as it has never really bothered me before, that he was horrible at circles, but now I see how everything is related and to get a well rounded and working horse he need to be pretty decent at everthing.
I am planning on getting lessons soon-ish, when I can afford it and have the money.

I think I am going to have to re read this a few times to fully understand it and remember everything

But to sum up the top section
Inside rein tight outside loose. Inside rein shift to outside slightly. Shift weight into outside leg put pressure on inside leg on the girth. To achieve long and low?
Smaller circles harder to achieve bend? But then why did you say do them?

Also because I have achieved the long and low with Buzz yet, this will take longer to achieve a 'true' circle
Haha almost there

Here: When asking for true (inside) bend on a circle (initially, in the green horse)
- Weight your INSIDE seat bone
- INSIDE leg on the girth
- Turn your shoulders to the INSIDE of the circle
- Give the OUTSIDE rein (it should not restrict the movement of the poll and neck to the inside)
- Contact on the INSIDE rein, not tight, just 'feeling' the horse's mouth. So you don't want to see any slack in the rein, but you're not pulling back on it. The only time you take up a little pressure on it is when the horse is resisting your aids to bend, in that case take up the inside rein a little more until horse gives to it.

Should have worded this one different, I said a smaller circle makes it harder for horse NOT to bend, should have said it makes it easier for the horse to bend ;)

And just to give you another aid :P
-Both knee points open and INSIDE knee point directed to inside of the circle. **** it hurts if your not used to it. But having your knees into the saddle is the equivalent of you having a clamp around your torso and being asked to move gracefully sideways or bend your body. Your movement will be stiff! By taking your inside knee right off the saddle (but don't turn out your toes :P) you are opening the horse's rib cage and making it more comfortable to bend.


Sorry for the overload of information. Even if you write out those aids and give them to a horsey friend who can come and watch you. Pick someone who has a decent eye for the horse and rider, that can yell 'shoulders' when your shoulders aren't turning for instance.
Eyes on the ground is the best way by far to do this, hell when I was first taught it my coach was constantly going 'shoulders', 'weight', 'shoulders', 'hips', 'shoulders'.... There is a lot to remember! But once you have this down pat, your horse will be following the inside rein and be far more supple. THEN and only then will you be able to start worrying about riding inside leg to outside rein, having the horse through and even on both reins.
     
    10-03-2010, 03:26 AM
  #6
Green Broke
Okay I think I will wright the key points down but it may be hard to find some one to come watch as my horsey friend is always busy, she's gone into dancing more now anyway, and all my family are non-horsey.
I may just video myself watch then fix mistakes not ideal but best option :)
     
    10-04-2010, 01:44 AM
  #7
Green Broke
Oh and I also made a mistake I said I had achieved long and low but we ar currently working on it so will that make it harder to achieve a true circle or will achieving a true circle help him go long and low??
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    10-04-2010, 05:27 AM
  #8
Trained
All of this work will help you achieve long and low. It is now what I use on nearly every horse I get on as a warm up, as it gets them so beautifully over the back and off their shoulders :)
     
    10-04-2010, 07:23 AM
  #9
Yearling
Excellent information can't wait to give it a shot never heard of removing your knee out from the saddle. Also redtree im working on long and low and its definitely making a difference
     
    10-04-2010, 07:36 AM
  #10
Green Broke
Okay thank you so much :)
     

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