Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Missoula, MT
Posts: 6,594• Horses: 1
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It is very important for your horse to be “on the outside rein”. Only then can he bend correctly to the inside, be straight and in a good lateral balance and fully express himself in all three gaits.
When a horse is “on the outside rein” you will feel more weight on this rein as opposed to the inside rein and the inside rein will then become very passive.
There are several exercises you can do to achieve this and here’s one of them.
Ride your horse in working trot to start on a twenty meter circle (the walk and canter are more difficult). Gradually come into a smaller circle in the middle of your big circle until you get a 10 or 8 metre circle depending on your horse’s level and capabilities. When closing the circle make sure you do not lose the rhythm and impulsion and that your horse keeps parallel to the circle, correctly bent as the circle requires. Your shoulders should always be parallel to your horse’s shoulders by rotating your upper body slightly to the inside of the circle instead of collapsing in. When closing the circle carry a little more weight on your inside seat bone and stirrup.
Once you are on the small circle, your horse’s top line perfectly adopting the line of the circle, get him lighter on the inside rein by keeping it open on a relaxed arm, shoulder and wrist and using your inside leg at the girth. Receive and control the actions of your inside leg onto your outside rein. Your outside leg should be placed slightly behind the girth in order to keep the hind quarters in line.
Once your horse has given in to your inside leg and rein, gradually leg yield him out of the small circle until he gets to the 20 meter circle. He should always keep parallel to the circle, his shoulders leading slightly so that he keeps a good forward movement and engagement of the hind legs. When leg yielding him out switch your weight slightly from the inside seat bone and stirrup to the outside seat bone and stirrup so that your horse can use his inside hind leg to push his weight out and cross over correctly. Do not let your horse fall out to the big circle. He must keep going forward as he crosses over in a leg yield.
As you move towards your twenty meter circle, you should feel your horse gaining more contact on the outside rein as he gets lighter on your inside rein and moves nicely off your inside leg. Think of asking your horse to move from his inside hind leg towards his outside front leg.
This exercise will also help him to bring his back up as he engages well behind and in balance.
Common mistakes you should avoid:
1.Loss of rhythm as you go to the smaller circle and on the small circle;
2.Collapsing your body to the inside
3.Allowing your shoulders, arms and wrists to be inflexible
4.When leg yielding your horse out of the circle, make sure he keeps parallel to the circle instead of letting him trail with his hind end, fall on the outside shoulder or over bend.
5.In the leg yielding your horse must not lose the forward movement.
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