The Figure 8 is typically done with 20m circles with a change of direction where the two circles join over ‘X.’
However, as with most of these exercises, you can accommodate your horse’s level of schooling. If you have a younger horse and the space, you can do bigger circles or with a more schooled horse, you could do smaller circles or different-sized circles. The options really are endless!
The main goal and purpose of the Figure Eight is to improve your horse’s suppleness, bend, straightness, and balance. It can also help sharpen your horse’s responsiveness to rider aids and help improve rider accuracy.
How to ride the exercise?
- It is best to begin in a walk or trot if you are introducing this exercise to your training toolbox.
- Begin your circle, and when you approach the ‘join’/’X’ of your two circles, straighten your horse and prepare to change direction.
- Your horse’s bend will change when you have changed direction onto the new circle, but you should support with your new inside leg to avoid falling in or collapsing into the new bend.
- You will now repeat this process and change from one circle to another.
- If necessary, you can also stay on one circle for longer before changing direction.