How to get her to bend on a circle better
Well Blue always wants to turn like a cutting horse and do it quickly and fast, and not bend. so how can I get her to do a nice 20m circle?
...and inside leg.
I would break it down a little for him, so he starts to understand that's it not such a drastic change you're asking for. Instead of one continuous circle, ride an octagon. What I mean by that is, move the horse in two pieces for each quarter of the circle. Move shoulders over a hair, then leg yeild out a hair, whichever move you need to keep him on what might pass as a circle. At first your "circles" will look strange, but once he starts to get it, you can start to ask using more continuous aids. Even then ask for more small incremental adjustments rather than thinking of it in terms of a circle.
thanks, My Boy Puck! And I do use outside rein, and inside leg
The mechanics of a circle are:
Inside leg at the girth, keeps the circle from falling in
Outside leg slightly back, keeps the high end from falling out
Outside hand holds, keeps the size of the circle
Inside hand bends, directs the circle
Obviously these aids do more then what i just listed but they're the basic aids for the circle. Once you get those down you have to get a 'feel' of how much of each aid you need. There is no "formula" of which aid you use the most, it will depend on your horse and situation. If your horse is falling into the circle, do you need more inside rein? Probably not. The inside leg and outside rein (as others have mentioned) will keep the circle big. So you might be using those aids but you might not be using them enough or at the right moment. Or your horse may not be responsive to them. That's a whole other question... As Spyder mentioned in another post, if your mom is a stellar dressage rider she should be able to help you with something like this.
Is he dropping his shoulder or turning on his haunches to cut into the circle?
Some tools that may help you and your horse to do some better circles are draw reins or a training fork. I would recommend draw reins. They pull the horses head around and down so that you have complete control of his head. I have been doing lots of circle work with my barrel horse lately and the draw reins have really helped.
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.
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