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Learn How to Stop Circling In Front of a Jump When You Don’t See the Distance

Submitted by member: Phyllis

I have a young green horse. He is very soft and quiet to the fences.  I was wondering what you do when you are riding a young horse and don’t see a distance.  My friend, who is jumping
him, will circle in front of the fence. What is your feeling on this?

Answer by Bernie

Phyllis it sounds like you have a very nice young green horse that is quiet and soft to the fences so that’s a big plus!

I am assuming you are not jumping too high yet, due to his age and stage of training as well as your eye being a bit green from your description. This being the case, I’m not a fan of circling in front of fences. First it can become quite habit forming for the rider, and second I don’t like to confuse the horse by taking him off the jump he is focused on just because the rider doesn’t see a distance. That is assuming they are small jumps.

Horses can develop an eye of their own if allowed to. You will find staying relaxed and letting the horse figure out the distance to small jumps is a good thing. Often a rider with a green eye interferes with the horses decision, which may be a better one if not interfered with.  If you are not sure where you are, stay quiet and in balance with the horse in a two point or light seat and be with him at the take off. Since he is so nice to the jumps, his own eye should develop quickly and, in turn, this will help yours.

For the development of your eye, we have several topics on (see links below) that pertain to that. All utilize cavaletti’s and small jumps that your horse can handle at his stage.

If you have a habit already of circling when you don’t see a distance, we have a topic called Help For The Habitual Circler (see link below) than has cured many a circler. Your horse may or may not be too green for this. He has to have a good prompt canter departure and the ability to shorten his canter stride for this to be productive. The good news is, you can for sure improve your eye and develop your horses eye as well!

Recommended Video Topics:

stop circling your horse in front of the jumpof

Help For The Habitual Circler
Bernie Traurig
We’ve all done it … you’re headed toward a fence, you don’t see a distance, indecision overwhelms you, panic blinds you and you CIRCLE! In this topic Bernie takes a look at this frustrating tendency that can easily evolve into a really bad habit. He provides the rider with exercises that help you overcome that moment of doubt and fight your way out of a circle.
Running Time:  10 minutes and 14 seconds

View Video
John French shares his winning eye exercises

Winning Eye Exercises
John French
John French finally shares the secrets of his legendary eye. In this video he reveals his favorite exercises that will not only develop your eye, but the confidence to find the distance to every jump.
Running Time:  13 minutes and 22 seconds

View Video
eye exercises to find a distance to a jump on your horse

Exercises to Develop a Better Eye
Bernie Traurig
Bernie demonstrates exercises you can incorporate into your flatwork everyday that will work your eye without overworking your horse!
Running Time:  19 minutes and 1 seconds

View Video

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Bernie Traurig

As a Horseman, Bernie is renowned for not only his riding talents but for his teaching and coaching gifts. As a competitor, Bernie has represented the United States Equestrian Team both at home and abroad on many occasions and reached the top of the sport in all 3 of the International Equestrian Olympic disciplines: Show Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing.After amassing 60 years worth of training and riding techniques and experiences with thousands of horses, Bernie is driven to give back to the sport that has given him so much fulfillment and success.

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