In Straightness Training, the horse is strengthened through a logical system of progressive exercises.
The second exercise is stelling and bending. This exercise is asked while standing still.
With the cavesson you can influence the head and spine of the horse and the stelling and bending to the left and to the right.
You can see that the bending of the horse works through its entire spine, and that the hip on the hollow side of the horse comes forward.
Stelling is the placement of the head in relation to the first neck vertebra.
Bending is the lateral bending of the spine from the first neck vertebra (atlas) to the vertebrae in the tail.
Teaching the exercise to the horse
- The horse must remain standing still while asking it for stelling little by little. To do so you apply pressure on the longe line.
- When the horse takes the stelling and relaxes, you release the pressure and reward the horse.
When done correctly, you can see that by asking stelling, the horse bends through the neck its entire body. This results in a forward movement of the inside hip.
Timing and dosing is key
The better your timing and dosing of pressure and release, the better the horse will understand this exercise.
A pitfall of the human being is the use of the pressure:
- Too long
- Too much
When you use pressure like this, the horse will either go against your pressure (bringing the head up) or ignore your request (resisting in the same position).
So if you don't get the expected result, change your approach, and refine your pressure/release technique.
And remember: adequate timing and dosing of the pressure is important, but even more important is the release of the pressure!