Teen Forum Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: South East Texas
What size is this round pen? We have a full sized 60x60 ft, so what I will be telling you is strictly based on the amount of room I have to work with. It will be much different if you only have a 30x30
The key to round pen work is utilizing it correctly. I actually do almost all of my prep and green work with horses in one, because it's well enclosed- there aren't corners for greenies to get 'stuck' in, and there's a lot of opportunity to get some real work in.
Why don't you try some tune-up work? Warm him up by doing two laps at a walk in either direction, paying attention to your position and to your horse's form. Keep him in light contact with the bit and ask him to adapt his body to the circle. Try to keep a perfect distance between you and the rail.
For your trotting exercise, you could switch things up by asking him to make circles within a circle. Make one full circle around the pen, then ask him to make two smaller circles, almost like a figure eight. Pay attention to his form again, and ask him to stay loose and flexible during his turns. Repeat in either direction, and maybe throw in some walk-trot transitions at the beginning and end of the circles.
As far as canter work, if he's already well balanced and knows his leads, there isn't much else to can work on in the round pen. One thing that I enjoy doing though, is some 'hands-off' work. Simply urge him into a well rated canter, drop contact with the reins (as of it, let them go. If you're unsure about this, you can use a neckstrap.) and ride him with only your voice, seat, and legs. He may be suprised at first, but the lost contact with force your communication to get strong since he'll have to listen to you better. Try to keep him at the same speed, and throw in a few direction changes, or smaller circles. The circles will make you really depend on your other aids because you'll need to ride him off of pressure and release. It's really a great riding experience ^^
Then ofcourse, there's always doing cones or maybe some bareback ridings...walk-canter transitions, sitting trot...the list is endless! XD
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