The last of the 5 basic exercises in Horsefulness Groundwork is Circle Work. During circle work we ask the horse to circle around us in walk, trot or canter. We can also offer straight lines to the horse, so moving straight ahead, followed by half /whole circles.
Why circle work?
- Instead of only the 3 lead positions you can now also use the circle poition during the communication and training of your horse. That gives more options and offers more variety.
- Circle work will further develop and improve communication with your horse.
- The circle is often a good exercise to start other exercises/movements from, such as moving sideways from the circle or taking a jump from the circle.
- Circle work is ideal to give your horse the opportunity to trot or canter during groundwork and in that way channel excess energy
- Circle work done in the right way can make the phlegmatic horse more energetic.
- Circle work can also help release physical, mental and emotional tensionsin the horse
- With certain exercises during the circle work you can work on dominant behavior.
- Circle work can improve focus and concentration
- Through circle work you can help the horse to overcome obstacles without having to lead from the front (you send the horse from the circle over a tarpaulin, poles, water, ...)
- Circle work is gymnastisizing
- It's the preparation for dressage longing.
How do you get started?It’s a big advantage, but not necessarily necessary, that you can invite your horse in liberty to circle around you. Because then it’s only a matter of attaching the halter and rope and you will be able to work with your halter and rope much more subtly, because you’ve already learned how to communicate in liberty with your body language. What is certainly needed is that there’s already trust in each other and that a foundation has been laid in terms of body language and communication in liberty. You do that with the connection exercises. Before you start with circle work it’s advisable that other basic groundwork exercises are already known, then the circle work will go much better.
How do you communicate?During the circle work we communicate with the horse through active and passive body language, inviting or driving body language. Body language is a combination of the energy you radiate, your body posture, your position in relation to the horse and the movements you make with your body. We can ask the horse to
- Make progressive transitions: from halt to walk, from walk to trot, from trot to canter and vice versa, from canter to trot, from trot to walk, from walk to halt.
- Make non-progressive transitions: from halt to trot, halt or walk to canter, canter to walk, from trot to halt
- Speed up / slow down in the same gait
- Change directions through an S in walk, trot or canter
- Combine straight lines with half / whole circles
- Decrease and increase the circle
- Integrate obstacles in the circle work, such as poles, jumps, cones, a tarpaulin, etc.
- do movements with sideways motion