I know how to ride a 20-meter circle but you wouldn’t know it from my lesson. As I’m going from B to E, Barbara’s giving me 20 different directives: sit more on my right seatbone (we’re going left), use more left leg, hold the outside rein, release the inside rein, get him to go more forward, hit the rail just before the letter and then turn off, don’t drop your right shoulder… Needless to say, getting a perfectly round circle was not so high on my priority list while I was trying to fix everything else.
I finally had to stop from exhaustion after going round and round and round. She thought a minute and then said, “Stop thinking about PJ and just concentrate on getting a round circle and hitting B and E at the right points.”
No problem. And low and behold….my position straightened up and he came more in my outside rein. Maybe he wasn’t going quite as forward as I wanted him to, but everything else seemed to sort themselves out.
Barbara said that sometimes we concentrate so hard on our horses that we miss other things, and that the purpose of riding accurate figures is to help to horse go better. Thus, shifting the focus from him to a round circle, helped his bend and I didn’t get so tense trying so hard. Go figure! (pun intended)