Riding exercise of the month: 10 meter circles with transitions

It's really not difficult for me to admit that I really struggle with motivation for riding and training in January, which has always been the worst month of the year for me. Although some people find January to be a very motivational month, for me I just go into a slump and my riding becomes more 'just exercise the horse' rather than having a systematic training session each time but as soon as we hit February, I always bounce back. It's bizarre but now it's happened again and I have this fantastic riding exercise for you all which I have been LOVING riding for the last week!
So this month's riding exercise of the month is to ride 10 meter circles with 'a simple change' (canter-walk-canter transition) at the end of each one. What I tend to do is ride a walk to canter transition at A or C, and then down the long side ride THREE 10 meter circles with a transition to walk at the end of each circle - and then obviously pick up canter again after 4 or 5 steps of walk. Note - make sure you space out your circles well enough, the first few times I tried this out my circles were all next to each other rather than being several meters apart.

The reason why I adore this exercise is because it keeps the horses busy and they have less time for spooking. I feel like my two boys slightly go crazy as soon as they get their first whiff of spring air so I need them to be thinking and focusing on me, rather than the invisible monster hiding behind the mirror... It also helps me as a rider to make sure my riding is as accurate as possible. You've got plenty of opportunities to perfect 10 meter circles when riding this, and you have to pay attention to when and how to ask for the canter to walk transition without ruining the shape and size of the circle! I've found that keeping the horses a little bit bent in the neck to the inside and balanced on the outside rein during my transitions to walk has really helped, as well as thinking about riding forwards into the walk through shortening the canter steps rather than pulling back. Even Basse does much better canter to walk transitions when I try to collect his canter into really short and bouncy steps! 👏🏻
Another reason why this particular exercise is my riding exercise of the month is because it improves the horse's canter without even having to really think about it as a rider. By riding this, the horse has to become supple, relaxed, through the back and flexible through the ribs AND forward going. Basse has given me some of the best canter work ever after riding this exercise. It's probably because whenever he's tried to fall behind my leg, I've given him a tiny kick to create more energy from behind so that he's realised that he's carrying me and not the other way round!

Have you tried this? Did you like it?

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