Swings and Roundabouts


Riding Level 3:  Circles and Turns

The fifth item on the Riding Level 3 checklist is:

5. Circles and turns at trot with correct diagonal changes.

You have already demonstrated circles and half-circles at walk and trot for Level 2, and before you test Level 3 you should review that material, making sure you know the geometry of your circles and half circles.  At level 3 we are simply looking for additional accuracy, confidence and finesse.

Circles

At level 3 your circles should be:

Proportions of the 20m circle within a 20x40 ring
Proportions of the 20m circle within a 20×40 ring
  • Round.  Many people start off with a beautiful half circle but often it all falls apart and turns to an egg by the end.  Maintain your geometry with your eye, tracking a quarter turn ahead, and use suppling half-halts with the inside rein to keep your horse’s nose on the track of the circle.
  • The correct size.  We may ask for 10, 15, or 20 metre circles in your level 3 test.  Make sure you know by eye and by feel what these sizes are.  At Red Colt our arena is 30m wide, so a 20m circle at A will be 5m short of F and K on either side.  A 15m circle at E or B will just touch the centre line, and a 10m circle fits nicely into a corner, not going past the nearest letter H, K, F or M.
  • Rhythmic.  Your horse should maintain his pace, neither speeding up nor slowing down throughout the movement.  Just as you need to pedal a bicycle harder or add more gas pedal in your car through a turn, your horse will generally need extra leg to maintain the pace.  The smaller the turn, the more support will be needed from both legs, but especially the inside one.

In addition you should be making an attempt to bend your horse’s body evenly along the arc of the circle.  This is accomplished with:

On a turn or circle the inside hind will step across and under the horse's body
On a turn or circle the inside hind will step across and under the horse’s body
  • softening half-halts with the inside rein to supple the horse at the jaw and poll and put his nose on the line of the circle;
  • support from the inside leg at the girth to bend his body;
  • support from the outside rein to maintain the size of the circle and prevent him from popping his shoulder out;
  • guidance as necessary from the outside leg a few inches behind the girth to keep his haunches from swinging out
  • even weight from your seat to balance your horse, with your hips facing the same direction as his haunches and your shoulders following his shoulders (this equates to a very slight difference in angle between your shoulders and hips).

Your examiners do not expect perfection at this level, but we do want to see that you are making an attempt to support your horse on the circle in this fashion.  We recognize that horses may have one stiff side (most horses do!), and we are very familiar with the individual tendencies of each of our school horses to drop or pop shoulders, cut in, or lean out on one side or the other.  We will be able to tell from your position and relative effectiveness if you are applying the aids correctly.

Turns

Half-circle change of direction, from left rein to right.
Half-circle change of direction, from left rein to right.

A turn, regardless of the size, is essentially a portion of a circle, and the aids for turns are the same as those described above.  The tighter the turn, the more effective the aids need to be.  When a turn involves a change of direction you must also choose the correct point to change your posting diagonal.

  • Half-circle change of direction.  Stay on your original posting diagonal throughout the half-circle, and change your diagonal on the straight portion before you get back to the track.
  • Reverse half-circle.  Change your posting diagonal after you leave the track and before you begin the half-circle back to the rail.
  • Changes across the school.  Switch your diagonal on the centre line.  For changes of direction down the centre line or quarter line, change posting diagonal on the E-X-B line.

As with circles, these turns should be accurate, geometrical, and rhythmic.

Two-week break in classes

The last Cavaliere Program classes until April will be this Sunday, March 15th.  We will start up again with Mounted Combat Skills at the salle on April 4th, followed by Intro to Mounted Combat and the Mounted Combat Playday on the 5th.  Mounted Combat and Horsemanship 3-4 will resume classes on April 12th, and new series of Riding & Horsemanship will be starting then as well.

If you feel you can’t make it through these two weeks without a horsey fix contact jennifer(at)academieduello.com to arrange private lessons with Jen or Kate.  And whatever you do, don’t miss out on VISS, the Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium happening on the final weekend in March.  This fabulous event only comes to town every two years.  There is something for everyone, from full-on three day intensive swordplay workshops, to audit passes and lectures, and of course the fabulous Saturday night Gala!  Sign up now — you won’t regret it!

Current & Upcoming Classes

If are interested in joining a series that has already started, and have permission from an instructor to do so, please contact the front desk directly at 604 568 9907 or info@academieduello.com to register.

Horsemanship Level 3 or 4grooming
Sundays 8 & 15 March, 12 Apr – 3 May 10:30 – 11:30am
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$130 + gst

Mounted Combat
Sundays 8 & 15 March, 12 & 19 April, 1:00 – 2:30pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$200 + gstmounted-combat-2-685-375

Mounted Combat Skills
Saturdays 4 – 25 April, 3:00 – 4:30pm
Academie Duello, 412 W Hastings St, Vancouver
$120 + gst

Intro to Mounted Combat
Sunday 5 April, 10am – 1pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$149 + gst

Mounted Combat PlaydayKate archery
Sunday 5 April, 1pm – 4pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$15 + $15 for use of school horse

Beginner Riding & Horsemanship
Sundays 12 Apr – 17 May, 10am – noon
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$300 + gst

Level 2 Riding & Horsemanship
Sundays 12 Apr – 17 May, 10am – noon
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$300 + gst

The fields are drying nicely – time for cross country!
The fields are drying nicely — time for cross country!

Riding Level 3+
Sundays 12 Apr – 17 May, noon – 1pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$200 + gst

Beginner Horseback Archery
Saturday 2 May – 10am – 1pm *tentative – date may change*
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$149 +gst

Intermediate Horseback Archery
Saturday 2 May – 2pm – 5pm *tentative – date may change*
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$75 + gst

Cavaliere Assessments
Sunday 3 May, 1:30 – 4:30pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$50 for partial assessment (Horsemanship, Riding OR Mounted Combat)
$80 for full assessment (2 or 3 of the above elements)

Caretaker Position at Red Colt

The position of caretaker at our stables in Richmond is still open.  If you would like to live in the house at the farm in exchange for looking after the horses, send an email to info@redcolt.ca or call 604 304 0201.  This is an excellent opportunity to get extra time with horses and participate in the Cavaliere program.

 

Jennifer Landels Jennifer Landels heads up Academie Duello's Cavaliere Program. She has been swordfighting since 2008, and riding since before she could walk. She started the program as an excuse to combine those passions.
Read more from Jennifer Landels.