That’s right, 20-meter circles rock! Gasp! Excuse me, but did you just hear that? Did I just say 20-meter circles rock??? Has someone been playing mind altering tapes while I’m asleep? No seriously it’s true. As of today’s lesson they rock. Next week they’ll probably return to their rightful place as my arch nemesis.

It was a great lesson. I rode the sweet Quarter horse and we had the ring mostly to ourselves. We warmed up traveling the full ring then started 20-meter trot circles. I didn’t even flinch when my instructor said, “Pick up a 20-meter circle at A.” What’s up with that? I didn’t once hear “Get to your touching points!” (OK, maybe once…or twice).

Starting at A we picked up the circle, then took the track when we returned to A. Bending through the corner we proceeded to B. Rinse and repeat at B, C and E. I should’ve been dizzy and a stressed out mess but instead I found myself saying “Circles ROCK!”

I found that I wasn’t looking at her head/neck at all. I was truly looking around at the line of travel. My mind was quiet. I was quiet. Wow! Maybe I have it all wrong and being alone in the ring is what rocks!

We changed things up with change of rein across the diagonal. At the end I also had to switch to a few 10-meter circles because she was starting to hang on my left rein unresponsive to my half halts. At this point we also did almost stops from trot to walk to get her to wait for me.

I then moved on to the canter. On the 20-meter circle of course! My canter work has been sadly neglected. My instructor says it’s like I’m two different riders. My trot work is quite good (her words) and at a higher level and my canter is…well…lacking. We get so focused on the trot work that there are times when I never canter. Other times it’s tossed at the end when students are switching around for the next lesson and I’m an exhausted puddle. (You would be too at the age of cough, cough forty-two after an intense one hour lesson.)

It was good actually. I didn’t tense up when she said “Do a 20-meter circle and canter at E.” Canter? Gulp. OK, maintain a good trot. If I don’t have a good trot I can’t have a good canter. Keep a relaxed thigh in order to maintain a nice long leg. Keep the bend of the inside rein, half-halt with my outside, allow the head to nod. Good, good. Oh, my God! Her back is coming up and she’s in a rounded frame! Circles rock!

We ended it there. My instructor said it’s the best canter work I’ve done. Yah!

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