Squaring The Circle

Training Journal

If you’re riding a horse, you’ve already won.

Rodney is sensitive.

I know this. I keep relearning it.

He’s not sensitive in the ‘twitch your eyebrow, horse explodes’ manner. This is good. I don’t ride hot horses well. He does what I ask. All of it. No matter how subtle. I’m sure I’ve said this before. Probably will again.

We were in the round pen at Stepping Stone Farm. Working on cantering. (Yay! Go us!) Cannot get around the entire circle without coming down to a trot.

I put my leg on. Doesn’t work. No matter how much I support, he breaks. I have a strong leg. It’s hard to ignore. Just ask Sam, my favorite ASB lesson horse.

Rodney always breaks at the same spot, right as the very slight slope levels out. In the first direction (ASB term, i.e. counterclockwise), this happens at 8 o’clock. In the second direction (clockwise), we trot at 4 o’clock.

Does he have trouble with the downhill, minor though it is? He gets on his forehand and can’t maintain the canter? Leg should’ve helped that.

I think about the geometry. Could he be making a straight line from 12 to 4, and then has to come back to the trot to course correct?

Or it could be me.

Or both. As he comes across at 12, he drops his shoulder to the inside. He slouches, for the same reason we all do. It’s easier. I follow his weight &/or fail to suggest otherwise. We thunder straight ahead instead of turning. At the bottom of the “hill”, I look around the rest of the circle. Instead of letting him sort out his own feet, my weightshift asks him to turn a corner. He can’t canter a corner. At least, not yet.

So, I sit up. Drop my heels. Keep my inside shoulder back. I concentrate on asking for the same degree of arc all the way around the circle. Voila. We make it all the way around the ring. Smooth circle. No feeling of going downhill. Flawless. Whoever started it, I was not helping by being mushy with my directions.

Rodney responds to aids I don’t even know I’m giving. This could be good. As long as I remember to ride.


Unrelated video from earlier in the ride. Our first step into a larger world? Music usage investigated and deemed to be legit, as best we can tell. Tune. Fan wisdom says the company is cool with short, fan-related uses, abwct.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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