04-13-2009, 04:38 PM
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Yes, because the purpose of dressage is to tie the horse's face to its chest.
The better your aids are, the better your circle is going to be. Remeber your circle of aids and the training scale before you get too worried about bend. Your legs and driving aids from your seat come first, they drive the horse's impulsion into the bridle, allowing you to half halt and create a better rhythm. The only thing that your hands do it rest downwards and the fingers and wrists provide any suppling and flexing aids needed. The hands should be very quiet. The training scale is rhythm, relaxation, contact, etc... You need to keep these three things constant.
Now, you have to worry about the line of your circle, along with everyhing above. You always need to be very particular about riding perfect figures and not letting your horse drift or fall in. This alone is going to take quite a bit of leg strength to keep the horse going perfectly along your perfect circle with no body parts leaving and going anywhere.
Then after you can do all of this, to get your bend all you're going to need to do is apply some inside leg at the girth and bam! There's your bend. You might also need just a little tny bit of finger ovement so you can just see your horse's inside eye, but the neck needs to stay straight. The neck is always always always straight. There are 3 things that are always on your line, the hips, the shoulders and the poll. Everything else before after and between makes your bend and flexion.
Some exercises to help you are spiral in and outs, going straight and tuning onto a medium (15m diameter) circle and going bach to riding straight, lots of riding and transitions on a 20m diameter circle and serpentines or changes of direction.