Cloverleaf Obstacle Training

By Maree McAteer

Riding Cloverleaf in a balanced, forward, symmetrical way is always a challenge. (In Competition #10) it is set balanced between jump, side pass and the corner of the ring so your ability to make the circles using the space to fullest so you can stay fluent and forward is the trick. It is a play between keeping your horse out off the inside leg while gently, clearly pointing their head on the line of travel, this will create bend, then the timely use of the outside aids to shape and send the horse forward as he comes off the inside leg in the direction of a point between the two sides of the bit.

When we use inside leg it is to send the horse sideways and slightly forward through his body which then takes his legs with it hopefully equally with forehand and hindquarters. The question much of the time is: was there ‘enough’ quality sideways response to the inside leg through his body or did the neck just bend pointing the head further in and therefore causing a ‘cut in’ on the circle? To have a quality enough sideways response to the leg that can be independent of the hand is the ticket to success.