Turns & Circles in Walk & Trot
Straight LineWhen you ride in a straight line, your horse should be straight from the tip of their nose to their tail. The hind foot on one side directly follows the forefoot on the same side (see horse a below).
Circles and TurnsWhen you ride in a circle or round a corner, your horse should bend their body uniformly from poll to tail in order to take the shape of the curve. The footfall of the hind foot should follow the footfall of the forefoot on the same side (see horse b below). Your horse should be in balance and not lose tempo or rhythm. Your horse’s neck should bend inwards more than the rest of their body.
a. On a straight line
b. On a left circle
Aids for Turning Circles
Rider PositionSit in the lowest part of the saddle with your hips parallel with your horse’s hips, your shoulders parallel with your horse’s shoulders, and your head turned to look in the direction in which you are about to go.
Hand AidsYou tell your horse where you want to go by using a quick ‘take-and-give’ movement of your inside hand. Your outside hand controls the pace and allows the horse to bend their body. It also stops the neck from bending too much to the inside and controls the outside shoulder.
Leg AidsYour inside leg keeps your usual contact with your horse’s side on the girth. Your outside leg maintains normal contact behind the girth.