Sunday, October 4, 2015

How Tight Can You Go?

Or......use your space wisely!  For years, I have been teaching my students that making elliptical or oval figures is more difficult for a horse and rider than just riding an arc that follows a circular path.

Recently, I was giving a clinic and a hunter-jumper friend of mine expressed the concept this way: don't go big to go small.  I thought "bingo!" that's it in an easy to understand statement.  In other words, don't go wide - or out in an elipse - when what you need is a tight arc. 
Most people understand the concept of attempting to make circles that are truely circular, not ovals or egg shapes etc.  But, when you put Trail obstacles in front of riders and ask them to ride a tight pattern, often they start widening. Then they're struggling to put the horse back on track to go over or through the obstacle. and it simply does not work.  Instead, they end up with impossible right angle turns and approaches that are off to one side.

So, in short, keep it simple.  Don't over think the course, ride arcs the way they naturally flow.  Don't ride like you're trying to get the trailer into a tight gas station, instead, arc your horse's rib cage around your leg and see how tight you can go - don't go big to go small!   Talk to you next week.  JD 

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