An exercise, or combination of movements,
Is just a way for us to find balance and flow with our horses. The exercises laid out in the classical tradition, from a diagonal line to a twenty meter circle, all the way up to a half pass flying change, are a way to help you balance and connect with your horse.
Us humans tend to get caught up on the exercise for the purpose of the exercise. We get hooked on making it happen. We train movements as a separate act, as if the circle or shoulder in were removed from the step in front of or behind it.
It all should blend into one dance. We shouldn’t train these movements like little circus tricks- these are places where our relationship shows up. The circle shows how you communicate and prepare. The shoulder in shows the horse’s trust of your inside leg, their willingness to soften around in and blend into your outside rein. The flying change shows your horses ability to follow your seat, your ability to ride with your seat.
Each one of these things is the RESULT of riding with the intent to connect – they are not the goal itself, but a cobblestone on the path each toward balance.