The Shallow Loop:
The Shallow loop is an exercise that teaches your horse to bend in both directions while laying the groundwork for lateral exercises. Begin at the walk and start with a 10-meter shallow loop. When you start with the deeper shallow loop, you make the exercise easier. Easier to teach your horse, and easier for you to learn. Slowing down and taking a longer path gives you the rider more time to organize your thoughts and your aids. It also helps you stay in the moment, allowing you to plan and, think. Be thoughtful about where to look, how to apply your leg and hand aids, and where your shoulders and seat are over the back of your horse.
This exercise includes two changes of bend. The changes in bend should happen at the quarter lines as you are moving towards then away from the center-line before you ask your horse for a change in bend give your horse notice with a half-halt. As you are riding take note how your horse responds when you break the question down into manageable parts. If you or your horse are struggling practice the same loop in both directions at the walk, stay at the walk until you are confident and comfortable and master this task.
“Remember practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect,” ~James C. Wofford.
Only when you have mastered the exercise at a walk, should you try it at the trot. When you change what you are doing you escalate the difficulty of the exercise, so don’t at speed or change unless you are ready. When you change your gait or make the loop shallower, the changes in bend come up quickly. So take your time and make sure you are ready.