The How-To's and Importance of Lateral Work

So let’s start from the beginning. When you are starting a horse you can always introduce some basic lateral work to get your horse tuned into your aids. Lateral work is a necessity when it comes to training your horse. Your lateral work keeps your horse working on the hind end and listen to the aids. Just make sure before you start any lateral that you have a horse that is supple in it’s body and working forward. If you don’t have this the you will have to take smaller lateral movements to   loosen your horse up. One is the leg yield. A leg yield is mainly the baby in the lateral world. This teaches the horse to move away from the leg and can help loosen up a tense horse as a warm-up exercise. The leg yield has no collecting effects on the horse. Leg yield for basic training with your horse letting the front and hind legs step sideways away from your leg keeping your horse fairly straight or slightly flexed in the opposite direction you are traveling.

The Shoulder-In. In the shoulder-in the hindquarter strengthen, helps with collection, will be able to stretch the outside of their body which will strengthen the topline, and help introduce other complex movements. A lot of riders have a hard time finding the correct shoulder-in. When riding the shoulder in you need 3 tracks. One is the outside hind, two is the inside hind & outside front, and three is the inside front. Many  people overdo it and have 4 tracks. This is incorrect. You must also have a slight bend to the inside which helps release the jaw. This bend should be uniformly according to a section of a circle. The area behind the saddle cannot bend sideways. The spine here has a stiff process to the sides which prevents the horse from bending. What a horse must do in this area to compensate this stiffness is lowering the inside hip and bend his haunches vertically so that the inner hip is actually more forward. This is part of the collecting effect of shoulder-in and necessary to keep the engagement. Without this it will only be a leg-yield.

The Haunches-In. You may also hear the word travers which is another word for haunches-in. Haunches-out is commonly referred to as renvers. The purpose of this movement is similar to the shoulder-in. It should collect the horse and balance him towards the quarters. In shoulder-in the horse moves straight in the front, or nearly so, while the hind is    positioned to the inside and therefore creating 4 tracks. The horses    outside hind leg will be placed slightly outside of their front inside leg and will have a consistent angel of approximately 35 degrees. The horses neck should be flexed in the direction you are moving.

The Half-Pass. This movement is a variation of the travers, executed on a diagonal line instead of along the wall. The horse will be slightly bent around your inside leg as your leg will hold the horses shoulders and bent in the direction you are moving. In the trot, the horse passes his outside legs across their inside legs. The horses shoulders will lead a bit in the half pass as the haunches should be following closely behind, not leading nor falling out. A good exercise to work on is transitioning back and forth from shoulder in to half pass which will help your horse use their hind legs much quicker. Keep the forward and suppleness to excel through this lateral movement.



Leave a comment