The Circle of Karma

Gracie’s leg has heeled, praise the Lord!!

I rode her on Saturday for about 45min of “holy hell grab mane.” She was so excited to be out of her stall, which she had been stuck in for 5 days because of the rain we’ve had plus her injury. Not a fun time. So her owner decided we should take her out for a spin to see if she was sound and hell yes she was. We cantered, jumped, worked on myself, etc.

Then I rode Lawdy, the old lease, and he was so fun! Much more relaxed than he had been at my old barn, very enthusiastic about what we were doing. At one point, I jumped him around a course that was a crossrail to a 2 stride to a vertical, and he did great! Except for the fact that the assistant trainer kept saying “right leg, right leg” to the vertical to remind me to keep my leg in place, but everytime she said that, Lawdy’s stride got bigger and bigger and holy hell that was a giant 2’3 jump!! Oh miscommunication… not such a beautiful thing.

Well my lesson got moved to last night because of the holidays and such, and I rode with another lady who works for a government contractor because our riders are #badass. She was on Gopher (the rotund TB), and I was back on Gracie, who still had her spunk and sass.

In celebration of the new year/life/Lord knows what, our instructor made a circle of death:

Photo courtesy of assistant trainer

However, I’d like to rename this circle to the circle of Karma, and let me tell you why. The idea is that you ride in to one of the jumps (these did eventually become crossrails), you start going around the circle, and whatever tiny error you did on the jump before, even if it was a good distance, will F*** YOU UP FOR THE NEXT ONE GUARANTEED, and be even worse by the 3rd and 4th jumps.

For example, let’s say you ride a horse that over jumps the first fence. You will be tight to the second fence, causing you to have to jump it a bit to the inside, which will cause you to be too far to the outside of the track once you land, so you’ll have to “oversteer” to get to the next fence centered, and now your track is off, etc. etc. etc. This works fine while the jumps are small, but when you have them all the way up to the 6′ mark so that you have to jump the center of the jump, GOOD F***ING LUCK.

So the idea is that you stay centered, on the circle, and your pace is beautiful and even. Interestingly enough, I discovered that to the left, Gracie opens up more, and I rode the circle with 4 strides between each fence. To the right, I got 5 strides between each fence. Totally fine with this, just an interesting note. We tried starting different each way to ensure it wasn’t a matter of “build up,” and it was not.

I redid the last fence that second time because swinging Parlanti’s are not a good look #letsbehonest. Came out much better the second time, but that damn circle looked easier than it was once I rode it! I definitely recommend trying it out. I found it really helped Gopher (who is a greenie) not drift so much to the right, think faster, and not over jump so much. Gracie did it like nbd, but I learned that I can make her extra small on the right! Haha



  1. ha that circle is so hard…. tho i actually kinda like the way you have it set up in the arena, rather than along the centerline. seems somehow more intuitive for the horses?


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