This exercise was introduced to me by my trainer when I was riding Lee to help improve his lateral suppleness and help teach him to go to the outside rein. We would ride a 20 meter circle on the true bend, then at the centerline we would change direction onto a 12-15 meter circle but keep the same bend. So basically we'd be riding a smaller circle on a counter bend. At the end of the counter-bend circle, change direction back to the 20 meter circle, all the time keeping the same bend. Every time you change direction, change your diagonal so you're still posting with the outside front leg.
At first it's pretty hard when you change direction, because the horse doesn't get that they need to, say, turn to the right but stay bent to the left. You really have to use your body to help the horse go in the direction you want them to go. After a few times each direction they start to get it when you change direction but not the bend, and they really push into your counter-bend rein - the inside rein on your counter-bend circle. It sounds confusing, I know, but what happens is you're just riding a figure eight with one small circle and one big one and keeping the same bend on both.
I find that this really helps Phil become more supple, and that when we change from the small circle to the big true bend circle he really jumps to the outside rein. Then I ride the large circle and continue to push him to the outside rein, and with him already there it eliminates the need for me to get my hands involved. I can just use my seat and weight.
The Harmany Muzzle
3 days ago