Help! My Dressage Circles are Ovals!

Joanna Fisher
Joanna Fisher

Help! My circles are oval – how can I make them more accurate? International Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Joanna Fisher shares the secret to circular circles!

Circles no matter how big are always rather tricky to judge, it’s like parking a car, it takes a lot of practise and judgement and it gets even harder the faster you go!
The easiest way to practise a good 10m circle is either to work from the centre line and circle back to the track or vice versa, this way you obviously have the track/wall or border as a marker indication…
A 20m circle is rather more tricky, as the larger a circle gets the accuracy for positioning gets tougher. Best way is to use your track markers as good judgement. Aiming to leave the track a good horses length after the diagonal marker (H,F,K,M) and in a 20/40m indoor school you will obviously be aiming to cross X and then as smooth as possible aim for a good horses length before the track diagonal marker again.
For those unfortunate enough not to have a marked out or bordered arena, I would suggest placing cones down or some form of markers to assist you. Judging size is exceptionally difficult otherwise!
As with all dressage movements and test riding preparation is key, so think ahead, plan ahead and keep a consistent rhythm.
Regardless of all this, an inside leg will keep your horse from falling in, and a nice consistent outside rein will stop them falling out!
Remember in an arena the judge will also be judging your positioning solely on the markers and track, so if you think you are accurate- there is a high chance you actually are!

Joanna has written a collection of children’s books based on her horses over the years.
It has been published by award winning Candy Jar books and currently available in Waterstones and being read in schools. Click here to link to her website:

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