Foundational Lesson Part III: Reverse Arc

  • Added:
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Foundational Lesson Part III: Reverse Arc Photo by Ian Kirkham

The Reverse Arc directly builds upon the Same Rein, Same Foot (see Foundational Lesson Part II) lesson that taught you how to control one of your horse’s shoulders by using the rein on the same side.


The reverse arc less teaches you how to control both of your horse’s shoulders at the same time. It is a counter bending exercise that softens the ribs, shoulders and neck. As the name suggests, the horse moves around a circle with his body bending in the opposite direction. It helps correct a horse who drops his inside shoulder when doing a circle; it is also good as a correction for leaking into the circle and can be used to slow the horse, regardless of gait or speed.


Reverse-Arc Circle—One Rein. Do a reverse-arc circle by asking with only the outside rein, keep your free hand low against the swell, making sure to keep slack in the rein, continue until you can lessen the bend of the reverse arc such that you can just see your horse’s outside eye. The idea is to lighten your cues to the point where you get the head/neck nearly straight. Be sure to practice at the walk, trot and lope.


Reverse-Arc Circle—Same Rein, Same Foot Pivot. Ride a reverse-arc circle and switch the nose to the inside while maintaining the same line of the circle. If your horse’s hip steps out, go right back to the reverse-arc circle. Alternate between a regular circle and a reverse-arc circle. The next step is to tighten the circle while doing a reverse arc until you begin to pivot on the inside hind foot. Continue with the pivot, changing the nose to the inside. When the horse does it correctly, ask for a couple more steps, making sure to keep the shoulder soft, then walk out. Repeat.


Company – LL Inc and the Lyons Legacy School of Horsemanship offer a wide variety of equine educational materials, including a series of horse training and riding courses, manuals, and videos for online and on-the-ground learning.


Contact – Ian Kirkham, LL Inc., ian.kirkham@gmail.com. A biologist with a PhD in animal behaviour, and a writer for much of his career, Ian now focuses on one of his lifelong passions – horses. He’s owned and trained horses in Canada, US, Zimbabwe and Costa Rica. Ian divides his time between training horses and creating educational products for horse lovers.

Author's Profile

A biologist with a PhD in animal behavior, and a writer for much of his career, Ian now focuses on one of his lifelong passions – horses & Horsemanship. He’s owned and trained horses in Canada, US, Zimbabwe and Costa Rica. Ian divides his time between horse training and creating educational products for horse lovers.


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