No matter what level you’re doing, you have to ride corners. So really use those corners to help your horse. As my coach, Robert Dover, always says, “Corners aren’t just something you wave at as you go by!”
So when you ride good corners with correct bend, you set your horse up for better balance as you come out of the corner.
The general rule for riding corners is that you don’t have to go any deeper into the corners than the smallest circle done at each level.
So, the smallest circle you’re asked to do for First Level is a 10-meter circle. That means you need to get into the corner to the depth of one quarter of a 10-meter circle.
At Training Level, the smallest circle you’re required to do is a 20-meter circle. So you really don’t have to get into the corners any deeper than the arc of a 20-meter circle.
But if you can show a difference between the line that you follow when you’re going into a corner and the line that you follow when you’re on your 20-meter circle, you show that you’re a savvy rider. If that’s pretty simple for him, try to show a 3-meter difference between the line you’d follow if you were going into a corner and the line you’d follow if you were on a 20-meter circle. That shows a real clear difference between getting into the corner and being on a circle.
Your rule of thumb, however, is to ride into the corner only as deeply as your horse can manage—That is, he can keep the same rhythm, tempo, balance and quality of his gait.