Patterns: Spiral

This pattern is another very fun pattern to do in lessons. It can be repeated for several lessons in a row and it can be done in a group or individual lesson. Spirals get smaller and then larger which encourages balance, core strength, steering, and independent use of aids.

I find visual cues to be difficult for spirals but oral cues work well. Occasionally, I will use a sidewalker or arena helper as a center (point) person to direct a rider. I explain spirals to riders and usually start on lead, even for an independent rider. After a time or two on lead, riders can begin to go more independent. Spirals are a tricky pattern to understand and tricky to ride so don’t be afraid to use volunteers!

Have riders start on a big circle – and I mean BIG – at least 20 meters if you have the space. Pick a point where the circle begins to shrink, either have a cone or a letter or some sort of visual. Each time the rider passes that point, make the circle a bit smaller. The rider should end up in the center of the circle where the horse can no longer bend to stay on the circle. Here is where you can use visual cues if you find them helpful.

After the point where the rider will shrink the circle, line up different colored cones or arrows to indicate the start of the new circle. Have the rider steer towards that new color cone for the smaller circle.

Example of spiral with cones
Example of a spiral with cones as visual aids

Let me know if this is helpful! Leave a comment below.

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