How difficult and confusing is ‘ falling in ’ for a rider?
When a horse is falling in, it’s the horse that’s not following the track of the circle or corner, right? After all, you have set your course, it’s a 20m circle, which somehow becomes smaller with every stride or begins to resemble an egg shape as you feel the horse fall in at certain points and attempt corrections. Those of us who have experienced our horses falling in usually wait until it happens and then correct it. Nothing wrong with that you may say, but there is a better way; another Eureka! moment for me in my training which requires a slight change of mindset and a good helping of focus.
Firstly, you should experiment with the give and retake of the rein to establish whether your horse can maintain his balance on a circle without you holding him there with the reins; in this exercise he should remain on the circle. If not, the issue is from your horse’s inability to balance himself while being ridden on a circle, or indeed a straight line. We have all experienced the centre line that starts at A and finishes somewhere left or right of C, haven’t we?
If your automatic reaction to the sensation that your horse is falling in is to push the inside rein against the horse’s neck in an attempt to ‘neck rein’ him out onto the circle or worse, if you’re crossing your hand over his neck to ‘ultra neck rein’ him out to the circle; or even if you have learned to drag the horse out with your outside rein, you have skipped a fundamental lesson in your training and need to go back to basics.