Patterns have been a part of riding since the time and writings of Xenophon, Athenian historian, soldier, and horseman.
In his work published about 355 BC, Xenophon describes riding a volte (small circle) and other patterns to strengthen and supple the horse.
As with many modern practices, the things we do are not new.
There are three riding patterns that are very common, and for good reason – when ridden correctly, they encourage the horse to bend evenly to both sides, go straight, keep better balance through turns, and maintain an even tempo.
At the same time, these patterns hone the rider’s skills of balance and using the aids.
Watch the video below to learn these three most common riding patterns and the specific benefits of each.
P.S. For more patterns and riding exercises, organized by beginner, intermediate, and advanced, check out Stay in the Saddle – 67 Exercises for Horse and Rider