How to diffuse panic using circles

Most horse owners, at one time or another, have experienced that out of control feeling, either on board or from the ground, but, as our behaviour expert, Rosie Jones, explains feeling out of control is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.

After all, even the most well behaved and well-trained horses can become spooked or unnerved at times resulting in an ‘out of control’ scenario. Should the worst happen and you find yourself on the receiving end of one of your horse’s ‘tantrums’, Rosie suggest riding circles to help you regain control, and fast!

“Turning a circle is the most immediate way to take back the reins if your horse gets away from you,” says Rosie. “Whether you’re in the arena or out hacking, if your horse tries to take control, ask him to turn on a small 10m circle (if it’s safe to do so) until he’s calm and listening to you.

“Gradually increase the size of your circles in a spiralling motion until your horse is completely relaxed. Once you have this tool in place and you know you’re able to slow him down, you should feel much more confident about staying in control when things get out of hand.”

If you feel your horse starting to tense up and sense a moment of panic rising, ride a circle

If you feel your horse starting to tense up and sense a moment of panic rising, ride a circle

Rosie’s top tip
When riding your circles, remember not to tense your fingers around the reins and pull on your horse’s mouth. Instead, allow with your inside rein to help create the bend in your horse’s neck and encourage him to move forwards onto the circle.

More about our expert
Rosie Jones is a Recommended Associate of Intelligent Horsemanship with bags of experience in training tricky horses and helping you develop a strong bond and mutual respect. Find out more at www.intelligenthorsemanship.co.uk