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Circles and Turns

There is a lot of confusion in riding advice. Mixed messages, poorly explained instructions, and sometimes, even conflicting instructions.

Often, the more we overthink an activity like riding, the more we struggle. Riding is movement, it is a feeling, and when we try too hard we can get it wrong.

In this video, Wendy Murdoch, anatomy and movement expert, plus HorseClass instructor, will show how to ride a circle or turn. One of the simplest riding tasks, but so often misunderstood.

Click play below to watch now!


If you want to learn more from Wendy, scroll down to learn more about her online courses at HorseClass.



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15 Responses

  1. Great video! I’ve heard about the ‘belt buckle’ concept from another trainer, but the demo with the skeleton makes it very clear.

  2. Thanks for this video. It confirmed what I had found by trial and a lot of error
    I was told to look where I wanted to go, which seemed to mean turning shoulders and twisting my body at the waist. When balanced, this does more or less have the same effect, but I found it too exaggerated

  3. Very clearly and simply explained. So often riding a circle becomes a crisis inside our heads and a permanent stress point. A teacher can fire so many instructions at you that you end up going nowhere. This you can do by feel and simple thought – exactly as it should be!

  4. What do I think I do? When I think I am sitting tall, centered and balanced, I weight more on one seat bone than the other. It is subtle. But I feel more pressure on one side than the other — the side with more pressure is the one that I intend to be on the outside of the turn I want to make.

    I don’t twist as Wendy showed with the skeleton. Neither to I actually shift my pelvis over to the side as she demonstrated.

    I just make the pressure stronger down towards the ground. I wonder if it works because I am hurting the horse’s back and he is moving away from pain. I’m not wanting to hurt the horse or block him.

    At the same time, I also turn my head to look in the direction I want to turn. But when I turn my head in the pasture to look at the scenery or something, he doesn’t turn if I don’t also weight my seat bone.

    What I do is so slight and subtle. But am I doing it wrong? Does that hurt the horse’s back.

    It is important to me not to cause pain. I am quite over-weight and I try so hard to be balanced so I don’t make it hard for my horse.

  5. I am going to do as Wendy suggests and then wait and see what my horse has to say. Thank you Wendy and Callie.

  6. Great consice information… It was so well demonstrated…. I went out tonight and practiced what I saw and learned in the video…nice difference in the response of the horse!! We are working on softness and circles…. it is so subltle, results in quite hands and nice turns at the walk.

  7. That was the clearest and most logical information that I have ever heard. So simple, yet so effective. It makes total sense.

  8. Love this video and all of the videos! Much simpler explanation than any I have gotten over the years. Love Elmer and Happy Horse.

  9. What a simple and logical explanation of how to ride a circle (or bend)! Often times there are so many instructions/steps given to the rider to describe how to ride this movement that im sure that most of the time the rider is so focused on all the “things” they need to do that they completely lose the connection with their horse. Well done ladies!! And thank you for all the great riding tips!

  10. A very excellent demonstration with the skeletons. This teaches us not to use weight to turn. Instead keep a soft responsive seat. Thank you for sharing this important information.

  11. I was originally taught to rotate the shoulders and look in the direction of the turn. I instinctively used some leg pressure to encourage the horse to turn. However it makes sense to rotate the pelvis slightly because that is where our movement will be in more direct contact with the horse. Thank you. I am already enrolled in the balanced riding course. I am grateful for the break week. I am still working on Module Two

  12. This was a very informative video. I was always taught to use the leg and reins to move the horse in the direction. but over the years, I started to use the hips more. So thank you, this is an excellent video and it helps re-affirm what I needed to know

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