Schooling Plans

Circle and transition work.

Level: Novice

Aim: To increase arena awareness, rider accuracy, improve suppleness and quality of transitions

Degree of difficulty: Novice level - fair

A re-occuring theme that I see when meeting new riders is the lack of a 'game plan' when they go in the school. There is an understanding that transitions and arena patterns need working on but they are sometimes approached in a slightly hap-hazard way.

1.Walk and trot "floppy style" to limber up.

This means to have a loosening walk and trot to get the horse and rider easily into the session.

{Options: include canter}

2. Specific walk stretch, big walk and really draping him down whilst actively stepping forwards. Then have a period of specifically stretching the horse down. Especially in colder weather but in general it is not good to go into deep stretches straight away hence stage 1 above.

{Options: include trot and canter stretch depending on level and balance of horse}

3. Walk leg yields across both diagonals.

After the period of stretching which helps supple the horse over the topline then the use of the leg yield can work the lateral suppleness. I prefer moving the horse away from the wall across the school as opposed to quarter to track but this is just personal preference.

{Options: include trot leg yield across both diagonals, depends on level of horse and length of arena}

Have a break on a loose rein and see how the horse feels.

4. Trot 20m circle, forwards and active to an outline.

After the walk leg yields take the horse forwards to trot and really be accurate with the 20m circle.

{Options: include changes of rein through 2 - 20m circles, stride counting to check accuracy of circle}

Repeat in the other direction.

5. Trot walk trot transitions on 20m circle.

On the circle start riding a series of trot-walk-trot transitions.

{Options: include stride counting i.e. 10 trot, 4 walk 10 trot etc or decreasing walk strides building towards half halts}

Repeat in the other direction.

Have another break on a loose rein, check position and how the session is going.

6. Trot walk, 10m circle and then trot 20m circle.

Using any one of the 4 circle points make a trot to walk transition and then at the next circle point ride an inwards 10m circle. Continue onto the 20m circle again and at the next circle point walk trot transition.

Repeat in the other direction.

{Option: Trot walk, walk 10m circle pushing the inside hind forward sideways (quarters out).Same theme as for stage 6 but this time when moving onto the 10m circle then invite the inside hind forwards sideways under the body linking it to the lateral flexion through the throatlash area.}

Finish the session with a period of stretching down (warming down) in trot stretch. Walk the horse off and put away.