By Eliza Sydnor
I learned this exercise from Steffen Peters. Riding a diamond from E or B up towards A or C, I collect the horse near the centerline and begin by riding a quarter pirouette over the centerline, so that I stay on my diamond. By making the diamond accurate, I can make sure my horse is straight and between my aids. By starting out with a quarter pirouette, I can ask my horse to sit but then think forward, so they don’t get “stuck” in the pirouette. For more advanced horses, you can make a half pirouette or even a 1 1/4 pirouette and stay on the diamond figure. I like this exercise because it shows me if my horse is not really between my aids – crooked, falling in, bulging out, etc.
I also like it because I get to repeat the 1/4 pirouette many times and continue trying to improve it – should I ride it with the neck lower? Should I come into it in shoulder in? Should I come into it in haunches in for more sit? Can I get out immediately? Can I turn another step or two? Pirouettes are hard!! And they take a lot of practice for the horse and rider to get comfortable.
About the Certified Instructor
Eliza Sydnor Romm is an FEI rider and trainer based in Snow Camp, NC. She is a USDF Certified Instructor Training-Fourth Level, successful competitor through Grand Prix and popular clinician. Eliza, and her assistant trainer, Kate Tackett, work with horses and riders of all levels and specialize in starting young horses under saddle. Visit www.elizasydnordressage.com for more information, find her on FB @ElizaSydnorDressage, and subscribe to her YouTube channel for some great instructional videos!