Exercises to put you in the ‘Zone’ – lateral work on a circle


One thing that we all seek is the calm attention of our horses but so often outside distractions can cause us to lose it. At the week-end I was working with a client who was experiencing just this and today again Chapiro, a little spooked by horses leaving the yard, had calm literally hanging by a thread!

One thing that really doesn’t help (in fact makes it worse) is forcing the horse to face his demons, unless you allow plenty of space between him and the distraction he is unlikely to want to turn and look at it; indeed he is hard wired not to look before he has put some space between him and the offending object. The other thing that isn’t an option is doing nothing – devil, idle hands and all that!

Something that helps Chapiro is lateral work patterns this one was particularly helpful today.

If you missed my Spring newsletter the question regarding circle riding will help to set up this exercise and can be found at the end  of the newsletter –http://www.creativeequinetraining.com/my_news.html

So bearing in mind the four points of the circle and how we ride between them try riding between the first two circle points in shoulder-in, the second two in countershoulder-in and then back to shoulder-in for the third and counter shoulder-in for the fourth.

If you are confirmed in travers you can then add in a section of travers and the same with renvers. Ultimately the exercise can become:

  • shoulder-in
  • counter shoulder-in
  • travers
  • renvers

You can ride them in any order just be aware of keeping soft inside bend, maintaining the shoulder and hindleg connection so that the exercise engages the brain and the body!

If you change rein after two circles then why not add in a giravolta or turn on the forehand to change the rein and as you advance to more complex floorplans add in reinback before the change of rein.

I use this exercise in walk but it is equally as good in trot.

Ride between each circle point with soft inside bend to create your perfect circle. Add in lateral movements shoulder-in, counter-shoulder-in, travers and renvers to supple the body and relax the mind.