The Crystal System is all about finding clarity in your approach and keeping things simple. By simple I don’t necessarily mean ‘less’ but actually finding the heart of the matter. Reducing what you need to do to its very essence ensuring nothing more could be taken away without it becoming ineffective, likewise, anything that you add is unnecessary and would only really create clutter and confusion.
All that we aspire to do will go through an evolution; a cycle of development until the process finds its ‘essential state’. Learning something new usually creates some seemingly chaotic input, making it hard to separate the relevant and essential elements from the irrelevant. As you learn more you start to set the pieces of the puzzle together for yourself, eventually arriving at the mastery stage.
Let’s take a look at some of the most straightforward subjects in dressage training and try to find the heart of them – beginning with riding a 20 metre circle.
Ask … “What is at the heart of The 20 Metre Circle?”
The 20 meter circle is one of the most important training figures in Dressage, from the introductory tests through to Grand Prix, in fact it could be said that the 20 metre circle is at the heart of all Dressage. It is one of the first figures taught to beginner riders and young or green horses. Due to its size, it doesn’t require that the horse or rider have incredible skills to be able to ride moderately well, but one thing is for sure, if you don’t pay attention to perfecting your circle work, with the goal of unconscious competence (mastery), you will not become sufficiently skilled to move up the levels.
The 20 metre circle is a test of your ability to accurately ride a basic pattern
Now I really don’t want to be stating the obvious, but I feel I must – the 20 metre circle should be round! NOT egg or pear-shaped. Each side of the arena (where the circle touches the outside of the arena) should only be met at a single point (as shown in diagram). This means that you do not ride along the outside of the arena for any period of time. There are absolutely NO straight elements to a circle and your horse should bend throughout. Touch the sides and immediately off.