How to Change Direction in Two Ways with Cam

Horsemanship - Changing Direction

When you are using circles (on-line) to warm up for exercise, or to develop smooth transitions and gaits, it is helpful to use changes of direction.  

When you change direction online from one circle to another, categorize two parts;  the Bring Back and the Send Away. The difference between these two ways of changing direction (explained below) are mainly in the Bring Back, meaning how you ask your horse to go from being on a circle around you, to come off the circle and face you. 

Two Ways to Change Direction On-Line

The hindquarter (HQ) and forequarter (FQ) yield:

  • While your horse is circling around you ask them for the Bring Back with a HQ yield.
  • When they stop and are facing you, step in towards the shoulder.
  • Use the Send Away to put the horse on the new circle. 
  • Pay attention to your hands, your lead rope and your stick/string and switch them during the change of direction.
  • This is essentially a HQ / FQ yield and is great for body control.

Draw and Send while maintaining flow (in movement):

  • Try to maintain your speed through the change of direction.
  • Draw your horse back toward you, asking him/her to come to you.
  • When they are coming to you, resend in the opposite direction.
  • You step forward and ask the shoulders over to the new circle.
  • The goal is flow. Imagine a loopy ying/yang shape that your horse is traveling on.
  • If you were trotting, try to maintain the trot the whole way into the new direction.
  • Any gait faster than a walk will be harder than it first appears because most horses won't maintain speed or will unlock off the original circle.
  • Practice each piece until you can do it smoothly.   

Adding direction changes to your circling program keeps it interesting for you and your horse, promotes healthy movement, and encourages good balance. Important to note for us, are the exact positions of our lead rope, our stick and our own bodies to master these exercises. There are many parts to perfect here!

You can see this article in action! Click the link to the Open Field information page, scroll down and look for the video, "Direction Changes with Cam", and enjoy some quality horsemanship. 

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