Beneficial Exercises when Riding in a Smaller Space

Beneficial Exercises when Riding in a Smaller Space

Beneficial Exercises when Riding in a Smaller Space

If there is one place where the ‘endless circle’ reigns supreme, it is in the small arena… Or any smaller space riders find themselves having to make use of for prolonged periods.  In fact, this was the very reason I began the Daily Strides Podcast way back when!

Saying a lasting, even final, ‘Goodbye’ to the endless circle should be a goal that all riders want to achieve… Especially if riding in a smaller space!

However, having a smaller area is not as limiting as many riders think it will be. In fact, riding in a smaller space can often help both you and your horse to become more focused and accurate.  And these are always useful and helpful when you finally do move out and begin riding in a larger space.

This month I want to challenge you to look at those same ‘limitations’ as opportunities for you to develop and build your conversation with your horse instead.

Exercises for a Smaller Space

This week’s episode of the Daily Strides Podcast is the ‘Monday Lesson’ of a week of audio horse riding lessons from Daily Strides Premium.  In this group of lessons, we work on 4 different exercises that you can ride to develop and train your horse when in a smaller space.

Episode 1 – A Good Quality Halt

When you can begin to see the halt as being another movement to work on, develop, and practice, you will open up so many new doors for you and your horse in your training and work together.  Preparing, getting into, ‘holding’, and then moving out of a good quality halt is not easy.  However, working on developing this move has the potential to improve so much more in your riding and your horse’s training.

Episode 2 – Developing Flexion and Bend

Suppleness is a key element when riding and training.  And a smaller space seems like the perfect opportunity to work on developing this for you and your horse.  In this exercise, you will work on flexion first.  And not only the flexion but the ‘channel’ you create using your aids that allow the energy to flow.

From there, you will begin to introduce bend.  Correct bend is not as easy as it might initially seem, especially when you are doing so with the intention of maintaining forwardness while in a smaller space.  However, it will supple you and your horse both mentally and physically while you work on developing it.

Episode 3 – The Square

Once you understand and can put into practice the bend and flexion, the next challenge will be moving in and out of them.  This exercise will require you to consistently move from ‘straight’ to ‘bend’ and back again.  And with the focus on maintaining the channel and the forwardness, it will require both you and your horse to increase your focus and your accuracy as you work together.

Episode 4 – Circles (yes, plural)

Finally, rather than simply riding a circle to ride a circle, the final exercise will use circles as a tool to really put all of the above principles into practice for you and your horse.  Like halt, bending, flexion, and straightness, the circle is not as easy as it initially seems.  Especially if you are committed to riding it correctly and in a way that moves your training forward. This exercise will help you do both of those things in your smaller space.

Get All of the Exercises

There are different basic principles for each of the exercises, giving both you and your horse ‘wiggle room’ when it comes to adding variations and making them work for you. If you would like to get the rest of this week of lessons, check out for all the details.

Happy Riding!

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