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4 Tips On How To Train Lateral Movements

To develop the horse symmetrically in body and limbs you can use gymnastic exercises.

The core of the gymnastic exercises consists of the circle, shoulder-in and haunches-in. All the other exercises are derived from these cornerstones.

🐴 The circle is used to develop the Lateral bending of the body, the Forward down tendency of the head and neck and the Stepping under the center of mass of the inside hind leg (LFS).

🐴 Once the inside hind leg can step under, this hind leg can also start to take weight. To do so we use the shoulder-in and counter-shoulder-in. These exercises are designed to school the hind leg in function of the inside hind leg. As a result of taking the weight, the horse will bend the inside hind leg more and free the outside shoulder.

🐴 Once the horse can bend the hind leg as an inside hind leg, we can also start to school the hind leg as an outside hind leg. To do so we use first the haunches-in (travers) and later on the renvers. In the renvers the horse can lean less against the wall/fence with his shoulder, so it's a bit more difficult than the travers, but as a result he really supports himself with his hind legs.

All exercises are related

All exercises relate to one another and differ slightly:

🐎 The only difference between shoulder-in and counter-shoulder in is the position of the fence/wall. The same applies to the haunches-in (travers) and the renvers, also there the only difference is the position of the wall.

🐎 The difference between shoulder-in and renvers is the bending in the spine, which is the opposite. In these exercises the same hind leg has the opposite function ('inside' in shoulder-in, 'outside' in renvers). The same applies to counter shoulder-in and the haunches in.

🐎 The half pass is 'just' a haunches-in over the diagonal, and the pirouette is 'just' a haunches-in on a small circle. Both half-pass and pirouette require support of both the inside as the outside hind leg. Therefore in both exercises the shoulders must lead to be able to keep the center of mass in front of the direction of the hind legs, only then both hind legs can support the weight. So both the half pass and pirouette also relate to the shoulder-in.

Tip 1: Choose the best number of tracks and amount of bending

All exercises can be done on 3 or 4 tracks, or 2,5 tracks or 3,75 or 3,99 😉 and your horse can have more or less bend in his spine. Now there is no 'perfect' number and the exact degree doesn't matter. What matters in ST is that you choose the number of tracks and degree of bending where your horse can support his body and center of mass best with both hind legs. And that depends on the conformation of your horse: if he has a long back or a shorter one, if he has long legs, or shorter ones, if he has a long neck or a short one. So choose the degree of bending and number of tracks where your horse can move in optimal balance and with most quality.

Tip 2: Continue when you're at 66,66%

First start the circle, then after a few training sessions add the shoulder-in, and the moment the horse can do this exercise for 66,66% of quality, add the haunches-in. From there you can start practising the variations. Just continue with the next variation if you can do the former at 2/3 of quality.

Tip 3: Develop the horse equally

To develop a horse equally in body and limbs all exercises need to be done to the right and to the left (or as they say in English: on the right rein and on the left rein).

When doing these exercises there will always be an 'easy' side and a 'difficult' side. To develop the horse equally, do the 'difficult' side a bit more often and it's also an idea to start with the 'difficult' side and to end with the 'difficult side'.

The moment the horse starts to feel more equal, switch to train the exercises 50-50.

Do You Wanna Know More About Lateral Movements?

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5 thoughts on “4 Tips On How To Train Lateral Movements

Comment author said

By sheikh on 24 December 2016 at 14:40

what about travers ?


Comment author said

By Marijke de Jong on 24 December 2016 at 15:21

As you can read in the article, the travers is the same as haunches-in 😉


Comment author said

By Lua on 24 December 2016 at 17:01

First thing, I love your website and your program. Thank you for that, Marijke!!!

But I have to disagree on this definition of half-pass, of being a haunches-in in a different position to the fence.
As I see, in haunches-in (and haunches-out) the horse walks forwards with the front legs and laterally with the hinds (in shoulder-in or shoulder-out is the opposite the hinds go straight while the fronts go laterally), and in half-pass all legs are going laterally.

At least in the half-pass that is seen in competitions, front legs are NOT going straight as I understand they should in haunches in!


Comment author said

By Marijke de Jong on 27 December 2016 at 19:33

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Lua. In all ST exercises all four legs move always in a forward direction, so no legs are moving sideways, no matter what lateral movement. It's what Steinbrecht says "Ride your horse forward and set it straight", not meaning the horse should move 'fast' but with all legs in a forward direction. In lateral movements they may cross, but they move always forwards, not sideways, just to not lose the essence of the exercise. Especially the hind legs should always move forwards under the center of mass to be able to support the body and the weight, they should not move besides or next to the center of mass. Here you can read more about it 😉 http://straightnesstraining.com/straightness-training-exercises/lateral-movements/


Comment author said

By Mario on 30 December 2016 at 15:04

Good. Theorically that exercises are performed in 3 + tracks. Half pass is done in 4 tracks.


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