Dressage – Achieving The Perfect 15m Circle with Hayley Watson-Greaves
Here we find out how to ride the perfect 15m circle with the help of International Grand Prix dressage rider, Hayley Watson-Greaves.
Achieving The Perfect 15m Circle
“It is often worth sitting down and working out exactly where the circle needs to reach and visualise it in the arena before riding it on your horse” said Hayley
The 15m circle needs to be ridden with forward momentum by a horse that is ‘in front’ of the riders leg. Engagement and suppleness both come into the overall mark awarded at the end of the test.
“To achieve the correct flexion needed for a perfect circle in any case, the inside leg should be used to bend the horse, whilst the outside aids should turn the horse gently around the circle. The inside rein should be used very minimally just to create a necessary degree of inside flexion from the poll” said Hayley
Too much flexion will create an uneven, oval type circle which could unbalance the horse and make the shoulder fall in. Not enough flexion will see a larger circle being formed, it is imperative the rider is aware of how big a 15 meter circle is.
Start by drawing the circle out at home, in the manage, and walk it yourself. If the arena you will be riding in is larger or smaller than the one you have at home, use a flat field space and measure out the appropriate size needed. Short poles can come in handy, depending on their size, or cone markers can be set out at the four points of the circle. Practice can start by riding in between the markers (four points) making sure you touch each point, this will help create an even circle as you go.
First try the exercise in walk, building up to a trot when the horse is able to remain balanced. Once you are happy with the horse’s flexion, engagement and balance, remove a marker at a time to see if you can remain riding to the points of the circle set out where the markers once were.
Hayley advises “Remember to turn your shoulders around the circle as this influences the direction of the horse and make sure you look up and in the direction of where you are going as this guides the horse and also makes you look like you know the direction of the test”
“Turn your shoulders around the circle as this influences the direction of the horse”
“When riding a circle you want to aim to ensure that the horse maintains a correct and even rhythm which does not alter around the circle. You should focus on keeping the inside hind leg engaged as it is this one that has to step under and across when on a circle.
“A 15 metre circle should not cause too many problems as long as it is ridden correctly and accurately.
“Another exercise and test movement is the half 15 metre circle, which incorporates a loop off the track and then returning on a diagonal line. Be sure to know where you are riding to and use similar aids as on the circle to make the loop and then ride straight back by keeping your horse channelled between your legs”.
About Hayley Watson-Greaves
Based at her family home in Gloucestershire, Hayley has developed a string of top level horses up to Grand Prix level.
Hayley’s horse’s daily feed regime includes TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer, a very flexible nutrient-rich feed designed to balance the rations of most horses and ponies simply by adjusting the rate at which it is fed and the products it is fed with.
For further information please contact the Multiple Award-Winning Helpline on 01845 565030 or visit www.topspec.com