Week 5 – break the boredom!

If your horse is like mine, they are starting to get a little tired of the ice and general boredom that comes with winter. If you find you need to help get your horse’s attention back, or just want to help limber them up, AND work on your spatial awareness, then this first TROT exercise is for you.

Quite simply, you are trying to do a four loop serpentine from A to C, staying between the quarter-lines. From quarter-line to quarter-line is 10 meters, so you should be able to fit four 10 meter half circle loops and should be done a few meters BEFORE you get to the opposite end.

With Scotch, I expect a certain degree of collection and balance, so I am using half halts to prepare for the change in bend, a bump with the inside leg to create the new bend, and outside leg and rein to shape her turn.

With Midas, I am making sure I come in with a reasonable trot, and then just looking and turning with my reins close together, but with very little help from my leg, as I don’t want to overwhelm him. I am not as worried about correct bend, but I am making sure he is flexing (looking) the correct direction. If needed, I can always complete the circle rather than moving on to the next loop.

I am using this to keep them thinking on their balance without overwhelming them, as a way to help them focus and use their body with more symmetry.

It’s also a good way to get a feel for a 10 meter circle and to see if your left and right turns match is size and feel, without being overly repetitive.

This second exercise is more challenging. I have three poles set up at the C end, on a circle. Can you get the same number of strides between the poles to the left as you can to the right? I can you get the same number twice in a row or does your control and bend change as you go? If it changes, remember to half halt and rebalance!

To up the difficulty, add in small circles over the poles: if you circle over the pole, do you still get the same number of strides on the arc as you did without the circle? This is a good way to see if you are loosing balance and/or power on small turns, and to help you remember to LOOK where you are going.