Circles are bad for your horse!! I hear this quite a lot and yes, if your horse is stiff and braced, circles can be very hard on a horse and boy oh boy! Diago was all of those things!
So our next step in Diagos journey is to build on our relationship, help him find a good deal in going forward and ask him to flex around and keep track of me. I remember at the beginning thinking that this was going to be an impossible task as Diago was continually thinking of leaving, looking out of the circle and pointing his butt towards me! He was pretty clear as to what he thought of humans but by asking for lots of changes of directions and giving him plenty of release for going forward – in the right direction – Diago started to realise that I was trying to communicate with him rather than just telling him what to do. Diago is a bit sticky in his forward at this stage, but you can see in this video that Diago is offering a nice curve around me and he is looking towards me for direction in his circles. I am loving the way he follows the feel of the rope in each change of direction and the rope is not always tight as he travels around me.
This is a great start to building a solid foundation in our communication and relationship, building Diagos confidence as he is given the chance to think his way through each task and his softness and self carriage by encouraging him to bend his body in each change of direction and use his hind in his departures – even when going over the jumps!
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