There are four normal ways of turning a horse right or left when mounted. Before going into this, I hope my article on Horse Riding Basics – Understanding the Muscles of a Horse is very useful and helpful. Now let us go on with the brief discussion on 4 Ways of Turning a Horse.
Quarter of a circle
Where the horse’s hind legs follow the track of the forelegs, and can be carried out in walk, trot, canter, and gallop.
- The advantages are numerous. The rider’s hands introduce and lead the horse into the curve, while the legs and body assist in maintaining forward movement and balance according to the speed and gait, and the size of the curve/turn.
Turns on the fore hand
To be carried out at walk only.
- Has limited advantages in general equitation and dressage riding. Is invaluable as an exercise for outdoor riding as an aid when opening and closing gates. Activates the hind quarters, hip joints and hind limbs.
- Hands resist but do not pull backward while the legs act to move the hind quarters to the side. The hind limbs move sidewards while the horse turns/pivots/marking time with the inner fore limb.
Turn on the center
To be carried out at the walk only.
- Has limited advantages in general equitation. Permits the rider to learn and develop the co-ordination of hand and leg aids to direct the movement of the horse around his centre. Activates the joints of all four limbs.
- Hands and legs act simultaneously with the fore and hind limbs moving round a pivot area between the position of the horse’s centre of gravity, and his centre of motion.
Turns on the haunches
Known also as pirouettes. Can be carried out at walk, piaffe (extreme collected trot), and the canter.
- Numerous advantages in the practical applications of horsemanship. Activates and strengthens the main motor forces of the horse. Supples and lightens the forehand. Aids in collecting and uniting the horse.
- Hands lead and guide the forehand sidewards — never backward — The rider’s legs maintain and support the hands in providing the correct amount of impulsion. Initially the horse is taught to move forward/ sideward at one and the same time, retaining his true gait while the hind limbs traverse a small circle, which is reduced in size until the inner hind limb acts as a ‘stepping’ pivot.
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