Warming your horse’s muscles, and for that matter your own, is really important if you want to avoid injuries to your horse. You should continue your warm-up patterns for about ten minutes or until you feel that you have made progress with your transitions and your horse is relaxed and rhythmic, before you move onto other training exercises.
Exercise 4: Half 10m Circle with Walk
Gait: Trot and Walk
Aim: Transitions, flexion and the quality of your 10 metre circles.
Working trot large (means trot around the sides of the arena), at S ride half a 10 metre circle, at the centre line walk two strides straight to C, then ride half a 10 metre circle, finishing your circle before R. Continue working trot down the long side, at B repeat the two half-circle pattern. This will be repeated at V. Continue at a working trot large and repeat the two half-circle pattern at E and R. Your two strides of walk in these final three patterns will be facing A.
Click on the image below to view an animated guide to this exercise.
Aids Used in this Exercise
All your aids will be given in the following order:
UPWARD TRANSITIONS (Walk to Trot):
Prepare > Rein > Weight > Leg > Yield
DOWNWARD TRANSITIONS (Trot to Walk):
Prepare > Body Core > Rein > Weight > Leg > Yield
NOTE: Your rein, weight and leg aids occur at almost the same time. Do not rely on your rein aids; they should be the least important aid.
When you complete this pattern, you will have executed 10 x half 10 metre circles and 20 x transitions. Depending on the fitness and flexibility of your horse, your next exercise may need to involve straight work.
10 metre circles require a lot of flexion from your horse, so if your horse is stiff and unable to hold even a half circle you may need to go back to straight warm-up exercises and ask for bend at the corners. Remember to do an equal number of right and left-rein bends.
You must prepare for the transition from trot to walk before you get to the centre line. Remember to prepare your body core (tighten stomach and back muscles) for all downward transitions before applying the regulating rein.
While you are trotting straight, ride straight – even hands, a straight line from elbow to bit, an even weight on both seat bones, even legs and pressure.
Your two walk strides are straight down the centre line, so bring your hands, weight and legs back to even on both sides. Put the letters A or C between your horse’s ears.
Half Halt and trot aid to start the second half 10metre circle. You will now have a new inside rein, seat bone and leg positions.
If your 10 metre circle is accurate, you will meet the long side of the arena one or two strides before the next letter (this allows for the two walk strides down the centre line).