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Wow...Circles...Keeping him Round...ahh

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Wow, I just started taking dressage lessons a couple months ago (hadnt had much worthy instruction before; never cantered before) well, we finally fixed a lot of my bad habits, except circles, with my old instructor we did "circle at this end or down there" where as my trainer told me to do a 10 meter circle at C...we did circles the entire lesson...I was dreaming circles!!! It was really bad, now I am getting better for awhile my circles had growths on the sides of them... [ROTFL]

Now my trainer is teaching me to keep a horse round...AHH...Friday (first try) she was so proud, said I caught on faster than anyone! Saturday, I couldnt do it for the life of me!!! I am going to go insane, it doesnt help that the school horses arent the easiest to keep round (so my trainer tells me b/c I wouldnt know LOL) It's so hard...Well anyways, tell me about your experiences with circles, and making/keeping a horse round??!

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Circles? What are those? I prefer to do a nice 20 meter Egg at C. I make nice eggs. I do a decent oblong as well.

[big Grin][Wink]

Welcome welcome welcome to the mystery that is a dressage 'round shaped thing that you try to do at a specific place.'

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I hate circles.... [bang Head]

they are stupid on soooo many levels (b/c i am the one, training the horse how to do it)

my advise?

so we know: : Circles establish 1)Balance

2.) gate controlability

so, the best way that i have learned,

IS to keep the horse's head DOWN, and tiltted to the inside of the circle....

NEXT? makeing your horse bend, and bend, and BEND....

the smaller the circle? : The harder it is on the horse... (BUT thats what you want..... eventually)

start with keeping you horse in the gate that you want, without the horse pulling out of it...(such as lifting head, and changing gates etc.)

NEXT? making the circles smaller

NEXT? slowing the horse down....

NEXT? making the circles larger...( but- u always want a bent horse)

-------------------------

THIS will take time.... (like 2-3 weeks of hard work) [shocked]

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My circles always have a funny bump somewhere on them. I always tell my trainer it's a circle with a pimple. She told me the other day that the Spanish riding school guru's say that it takes EIGHT years to learn how to do a circle correctly. EEE-GADS. [Crazy]

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Circles are one thing I can actually do and it looks like, well, a circle! I think it is because I did so much work in round pens that were 20 meter circle round pens. I did that for years on a lot of different horses. I went to a stable one time that didn't have a round pen and worked circles in the grass. Pretty soon she got a 60' round pen and put it right on my circle tracks in the grass. It was right on!

Now, let me be the first to tell you that my horse and I have a hard time coming down the center line and keeping it straight!!! [ROTFL] We truly have to work on it!!!

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I just want to say, I'm glad I'm not the only one out there who can ride a circle...as simple as it may sound...But to those of you who can make a "perfect" circle, I look up to you!!!

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The best way to keep a horse round is to always remember "Inside leg to Outside rein" meaning that you will try to push the horse with your inside leg into a "wall that you have built with your outside aids. I find this easier to do on circles. I keep my inside rein open when schooling a horse as I found this to help on the horses I have ridden. You can also tickle the reins but don't start see sawing! As far as staying in a circle you can trying to put markers at 4 points along the circle and go around them, but you might actually end up with a square! It worked for me though!

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I too STINK at circles (I mean gosh, when I tell people who dont ride how hard circles are they give me this strange look..... if they only knew how hard we work!!! [Mad] ) But after reading a WONDERFUL article in the dressage today mag. about bending I learned a few things that I tried with my horse and REALLY helped me:

1. Dont lean in on the circle--it off balances your horse.

2. Dont let your outside hand go ahead of your inside hand, keep both hands even.

3. With your inside hand just give little squeezes asking your horse to soften his jaw and bend in.

4. Always LOOK where you want to go! (It is basic, but helped me alot!!)

5. THen put your outside leg back behing the girth a bit asking your horse to keep his hindquarters on the circle.

6. THen what I do when I ride is say out loud "inside leg, outside hand" -- and that reminds me to use my inside leg to push him into my outside rein which gives gentle half halts. ALSO-- for my horse at least-- make sure to ask-release, ask-release with your leg and hands otherwise they can get resistant and dull to your leg... ok anyway hope that helped some.. correct me any one if I am wrong.. these things just are helping me ALOT with my horse. Though 99% of the time our circles still arent round... *sigh we will get there someday... maybe in 8 years...... [Roll Eyes] LOL Good luck!

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Most people have a hard time perfecting circles, because they have entirely too much flexion, and not enough bend. For those of you that dont know the difference between flexion and bend.

Flexion: The ability for horse to "break" at the poll to either side

Bend: The whole body from nose to tail is slightly rounded to one side.

It seems as though riders ride through a circle, with their horses cranked to the inside aids, but dont have enough outside support to hold the outside hind hip on the circle. To see if you are a culprit of this....Walk your horse on a circle. When you start to think you have the correct amount of bend/flexion, and at a nice working walk, stop your horse. Does your horses hind end scoot to the outside of the circle?? If so, you are improperly asking for too much flexion, and not enough support, OR your horse is just a lazy butt, and needs to get a strong BOOT with that outside leg aid.

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At a clinic once we, the riders, were asked to draw a circle on the back of our release forms. After she got them all back she looked at them and explained that how you draw a circle is how you will ride it. That took us a moment to digest, and then we all laughed because it was true. Ovals, lots and lots of ovals. I had an unfair advantage with my art background, yet another discipline cross over.

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One great way to ride circles is to break it up in 4 parts. When you are at B, look to the top point of the circle that hits the center line. When you get there, look at E, etc.

Also, remember that when you get to the 4 "points" of the circle, your horse should only be on that track enough to touch it and come back off. Circles become ovals when the rider keeps the horse on the long side of the track, at B and E, too long instead of touching and coming back off onto the circle.

And a horse coming round will come from the horse working forward into your hand from the haunches. Once youve established forward, make sure you are working the horse from inside leg to outside rein. Soft, steady contact from your hands with gentle half halts will help circulate the energy from the haunches to the hands and back.

Good luck. Youll get it! [smile]

[ 02-19-2006, 07:28 PM: Message edited by: KrazyTBMare ]

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