There is nothing more difficult than keeping a horse straight!
A horse is said to be straight when its forehand is in line with its hindquarters and straightness is a precondition for improving all of the gaits.
So, when I first heard someone say to me you need to be straight on the circle, I thought … “I don’t like Dressage, they just talk gibberish!” – Actually now my thoughts are not all that different, now I think “ I like Dressage – but they don’t half talk gibberish!” lol
What is actually meant by this bizarre statement is that you need to ensure that the hind feet, step into (or over) the imprints left by the front feet and maintain the bend. So the horse is following a line on the circle (he is said to be straight on the circle).
If you think about it, straightness is really important to ensure even weight distribution and whilst most horses are crooked to a degree, like right and left handed people ensuring that the exercises you perform are equal to both sides is a good way to ensure evenness.
Here’s what to do …
- Maintain straightness with your seat and legs, do not rely solely on the rein
- Look where you are going, focus on a point directly ahead of you
- Be subtle with your corrections, or you’ll find your horse will drift in the opposite direction
- Perfect your straightness at walk before you move on to trot and canter
- Keep your hands level and carry them in front of you
- Ensure your horse is forward at all times
- Keep control of the shoulder and correct the horse if it is falling in or out through the shoulder
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster