Exercise # 1 Spiral in-Spiral out-Canter Depart

Exercise 1 - Spiral in - Spiral out - Canter Depart

The Purpose of this Exercise

  1. This exercise teaches the horse to respond to subtle rein and weight distribution aids. It also helps him to learn how to move his feet and place them so he maintains his balance throughout his body during movement.
  2. It will also help the rider to become more accurate in the timing and use of the aids so as to be in harmony with the footfall sequence and movement of the horse

PRIMARY AIDS FOR THE FIRST HALF OF THE EXERCISE:

Outside rein (brace rein) – 2nd rein effect; middle of the neck

Outside leg – behind the girth

Leveling function – step into (weight) the inside stirrup

SECONDARY AIDS FOR THE FIRST HALF OF THE EXERCISE:

Inside rein (flex rein) – 4th rein effect with reprise (squeeze three times then soften – repeat)

Whip – outside shoulder

FIRST HALF OF THE EXERCISE:

  1. Begin the exercise by riding a counter-clockwise 20-meter (66 feet) circle (going to the left) at a medium rising trot
  2. Gradually spiral down in one-foot increments with each revolution to an 8-meter (26 feet) circle by ‘chasing’ the shoulders around
  3. Do this by driving the outside of the horse around the inside of the horse using your outside aids:
  4. Use your outside (right) rein at the middle of the neck to the ear, as needed
  5. Use your outside (right) leg behind the girth in a ‘brushing’ or ‘stroking’ motion, front to back, not in a ‘pushing’ manner. The ideal time to use your right leg is when the horse’s right hip is in the ‘up’ position. This means that the leg is engaged under the mass of the body so it will be able to provide more thrust and traction to power that leg with more energy causing the horse to move more into the circle
  6. Step into your inside (left) stirrup at the same time
  7. You can also use the whip on the outside (right) shoulder, as needed, every time it is back and before it leaves the ground again and starts forward (the horse’s right hip will be in the ‘up’ position). This is the ideal time because of two things – it doesn’t allow the horse to dwell on the ground with that foot and it encourages him to carry that leg to the left as it leaves the ground and is in the air
  8. Keep the shape of the horse aligned and corresponding with the size of the circle. As the circle becomes smaller, your outside aids will become more active
  9. Keep the horse in balance with all four legs reaching equally

PRIMARY AIDS FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE EXERCISE:

Inside rein (flex rein) – 4th rein effect with reprise (squeeze 3 times then soften – repeat)

Inside leg – at the girth

Leveling function – step into (weight) the outside stirrup

SECONDARY AIDS FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE EXERCISE:

Outside rein (leading rein) – 1st rein effect or 3rd rein effect may also be helpful

Whip – use on the shoulder

SECOND HALF OF THE EXERCISE:

  1. When you have reduced the circle to 8 meters (26 feet) you will now start to enlarge it culminating in a canter depart. Depending on the schooling level of the horse, you may enlarge the circle, in one-foot increments, back to 20 meters (66feet) or enlarge it just two or three feet before asking for a canter depart
  2. Step into the outside (right) stirrup; use the inside rein (4th rein effect) at the base of the horse’s neck – this will help ‘unload’ the left shoulder so it can move to the right – and use the inside (left) leg at the girth to push the horse out and enlarge the circle. Do this every time the horse’s left hip is in the ‘down’ position because that is the time when there is no weight on the left leg and therefore it is easier to move
  3. Use your outside rein to lead the forehand to the right (3rd rein effect may also be helpful) OR use it against the neck to keep excessive bend out of the base of the neck
  4. As you step into your outside (right) stirrup you will feel the horse start to ‘unload’ his left shoulder and ‘load’ up his right shoulder. This is the ideal time to ask for a canter depart
  5. Touch the horse with the whip on the flat part of the outside (right) shoulder as it starts forward
  6. Canter a few steps (4 or 5) and walk
  7. Rub your horse and give him credit
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