I would like to tell you about the circle of training aids. Although it is not exactly a circle of training aids you get the idea of the flow of energy that this refers to.

The first aid is the leg. Application of the leg tells the horse to bring his hind leg forward.

Your seat receives that energy from the hind leg as it comes forward because it comes over the back of the horse.

The energy the goes to your hand which is connected to your core through your hips and back.

You send the energy forward with a giving hand and tell the horse to accept it through the bit.

I am sure you have heard of following the motion of the horse. Unfortunately that gives you the idea that your motion should be behind that of the horse. In actuality you should be going along with the horse. If you are right above the movement and with the flow of energy it is really a much better feeling. If you "follow" the horse you are actually going to be behind the motion for a moment. I believe that moment is what keeps the horse from being brilliant. If you lag behind the impulsion for a nanosecond you are dragging the impulsion back rather than allowing it forward.

So how do you stay with the motion? You have to be right above the center of the horse and not sitting on your behind. You need to be right up on your seat bones with an open hip flexor. When the horse takes a step you should be right there stepping with him.

So for the circle of training aids to be affective your position is the most important thing.

The next thing is to be good with the timing of your aids. When you apply the legs you can't be holding back with the reins. As a horse becomes more trained you will be able to accept the energy from the legs with a solid but accepting hand. In other words, when you tell the horse to go with your legs, you can't tell him to stop with your hands. Only after much training will the horse understand that you may take the energy generated from the legs and circle it over the back, through the seat, down through the hands, and into the mouth back to the legs.

Over time, what we see is the horse will accept the energy and when you ask for go you can require more step up into the hand. The horse will learn to bend his hock and bring up his back and shorten his body length and not his neck .

Unfortunately, this requires patience and feel. If you pull the mouth back to close the circuit, the horse will feel claustrophobic and hollow out his back from fear. To drive the horse into the bit and allow him to come back to the hand, rather than pulling him back to the hand, takes more time. He will be happy and you will be happy. He will learn to accept the bridle and bring his back up under you. Keep the circle and you will keep the horse.