Exercises using mirrors
The purpose of this exercise is to check that your horse is changing bend and flexion correctly.
Move the rein across the diagonal from the back left corner to three quarters down the long side. From there ride directly towards the mirror and check that your horse is flexed slightly to the inside in preparation for the next corner. Make sure you do not face your horse head on to the mirror. (See Getting your horse used to mirrors).
Continue across the short side in front of the mirrors and continue up the next long side. Now change the rein in the opposite direction.
Ride a large figure of eight in walk, trot or canter. You can ride both circles in the same gait or any combination of walk, trot or canter.
This exercise can increase in difficulty by riding smaller circles and reducing the stride or larger circles and extending the stride.
To check on your aids and your horseâ€™s balance, change your horseâ€™s flexion and bend opposite the centrally placed mirrors. Make sure his hind legs are following in the tracks of the front legs. In other words, is he straight?
Ride four small circles of between eight and ten metres diameter in front of each mirror. Check your own position and the horseâ€™s outline making sure his hind feet follow the tracks of his front feet.
If he has difficulty bending or swings his haunches out at each circle make the circles bigger till he loosens up.
The line you ride between each circle should be straight. The horse should also be straight but remember to flex him in preparation for each circle.
Ride zigzag up the center in either walk, trot or canter. At each change of direction use the mirrors to check you are changing bend correctly.
Using straight lines, change bend and direction either side of the centre line.
Zigzags are usually ridden in half pass but you can also try leg yield. Keep your horse balanced and try to make the zigzags even.