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Focus on engagement

Words and images: Show Circuit


A simple exercise to encourage the horse to engage its hind end using counter flexion and transitions.


1.     Start on a 20-metre circle in canter.

2.     Add counter flexion (the horse is flexed to the outside of the circle).

3.     While maintaining counter flexion, ask for a downward transition to walk (or trot).

4.     Using the outside rein and small half-halts, bring the horse’s shoulders to the inside of the circle and prepare to change the rein, while still maintaining the counter flexion.

5.     Change the rein through the centre of your circle, gradually establishing true flexion (flexed to the inside) on the new rein. 

6.     With the inside hind leg engaged, ask the horse to come back to canter.

7.     After half a circle, ask for counter flexion again and go back to step 3 on the new rein.

8.     As you both find this exercise easier, you can start to make the circle smaller.

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