Leaning into circles

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Leaning into circles

This is a discussion on Leaning into circles within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Leaning into turn, horseback
  • Stepping down in outside stirrup on a horse

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    02-22-2011, 08:05 AM
Thumbs down Leaning into circles

Okay, when I do a circle in trot or canter, I lean into it so my body is slanted. Like some force from the centre of the circle is pulling me in. It looks like I'm trying to make the circle myself, when I should be sitting straight. Any ideas on how to fix it?
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    02-22-2011, 09:13 AM
Green Broke
Be very conscious on your position. You obviously are and all you need to do is to reposition yourself as your going along. Soon it will become a habit and it will work out. Good luck
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    02-22-2011, 09:18 AM
Think of stepping into your outside stirrup and keeping your rib cage straight. My guess is you are dropping your inside shoulder and collapsing your rib cage to the inside of the circle. If you think - inside shoulder up & back, that will naturally expand your ribcage. If you think step weight into outside stirrup, outside heel down, that will put your outside seatbone more evenly in the saddle. Hope that helps :)
    02-22-2011, 09:19 AM
That's right, knowing is the first step! Be proud of yourself for picking this up, very important!

I find that Sally Swift really helps, she is the guru of balanced riding :) If you can get her books or DVD's, they'll help you out a lot!

As mbender said, just keep a concious effort at keeping yourself strait and balanced. If you can have eyes on the ground, that helps a lot too so that they can tell you where you are unbalanced.
    02-22-2011, 10:16 AM
Originally Posted by mbender    
Be very conscious on your position. You obviously are and all you need to do is to reposition yourself as your going along. Soon it will become a habit and it will work out. Good luck
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It won't work to just repostion yourself if the horse is leaning.

OP - is the horse traveling correctly or dropping it's shoulder?
    02-22-2011, 10:19 AM
Green Broke
That's fine but don't you need to try and keep centered?
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    02-22-2011, 11:55 AM
Mls, he is perfectly fine. Thanks for the help everyone, I'll try them next time I ride.
    02-22-2011, 09:33 PM
Perfectly fine? My guess would be if we saw a video of your horse trotting/cantering a circle, it would be on it's inside shoulder and possible overbent to the inside, thus losing the outside shoulder and leaning to the inside... which makes you want to lean to the inside as well - if you are straight while the horse is leaning, then you as the rider feel like you are leaning to the outside.

Until the horse is upright on a turn, you will struggle... however this is a bit of a viscous circle as the horse will struggle to stay upright when you are leaning in.
Try to think of riding an octagon shape rather than a circle. So the circle turns into a series of straight lines with angles that must be made by 'lifting' the horse's shoulders and placing them on the next straight line. If you are thinking about picking the horse's shoulders up and placing them where you want them, you will probably find it easier to stay straight and will also be more conscious of whether the horse is leaning in.
    02-22-2011, 09:50 PM
Try riding with your inside arm up in the air. Keep it pointed straight up and it will help you feel what straight feels like instead of leaning.
    02-23-2011, 08:50 PM
Had to read this thread because I have the opposite problem. I put my weight into my outside leg/foot. My instructor is having us do more no-stirrup riding and when I go from a downward transition (canter to trot) I nearly slip off the side of the saddle when going around a bend because I lean to the outside. If I have my feet in the stirrups I don't notice as much because I just put weight in that stirrup and don't lose my balance


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