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Flatwork February #12: The Snowman

It may be summer in South Africa, but here at HQ, we are making snowmen. The snowman exercise consists of two circles: one bigger circle, 20m, forms your snowman’s body, and a smaller circle, 10m, forms his head.
There is no set way to ride exercise; similar to the figure eight exercise, you can do the circles with no transitions, use a transition when changing reins, or just do whatever you feel is necessary for you and your horse. The key is in the preparation; you must prepare your horse correctly for a change of direction or transition, ensuring you have the correct bend and rhythm. You want to avoid going too quickly and whipping through the small circle, maintain your horse’s balance across both circles and generally take your time.
If you need help keeping the correct size circles or not doing the transitions in the same place, a visual marker such as two cones or a pole is an excellent way to help.
NOTE: The snowman can also help an inexperienced horse get the correct canter lead. For this purpose, trot the small circle, and then canter on the bigger circle. Doing the transitions in this way will help your horse build strength and suppleness.