Suppling exercises? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 06-27-2010, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Alberta, Canada
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Suppling exercises?

alright so I had my first horse show at the beginning of June. My next one is July 9-11 {very son} i have like 2 weeks if that to get my horse ready to rock the dressage test again. So I need to get more in to my corners but one of the big comments the judges made on the test at my last show was that he needs to be more supple. Anyone have any exercises I can use to work on that. I want first place instead of seventh this time and if I bump up my dressage score and go faster in cross-country I can.
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post #2 of 5 Old 06-27-2010, 02:46 AM
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How do you ride your corners is the first thing I need to know? Do you look around the corner to where you're going? Do you put weight on your inside seat bone and turn with an inside rein? These things, although many people will shout 'inside rein, weight inside seatbone look around the corner, inside leg inside leg inside leg!!', this won't necessarily get you a good corner ;)

Try something for me next time you ride. Have someone on the ground to watch you so they can tell you when things happen.
Ride to your corner, look around the corner, weight your inside seat bone and pull your inside rein to get around the corner. Ask your friend what happened to your horse's legs, and how many metres out of the corner you were. I can tell you right now, if you pull on the inside rein and weight your inside seat bone to turn around the corner, your horse's back legs will cross over and he will cut in on the corner. You do NOT want crossed hind legs, ever! (of course the lateral exceptions, half pass, leg yield etc etc etc.) but in corners, no crossing of the hind legs is to be seen.

Now try this.
Ride into your corner and keep looking straight ahead. Don't look into the corner. As you reach the corner, simply move both of your hands towards the inside (without crossing your outside rein over) so that you're giving your outside rein. Think of it as turning a wheelbarrow. You can't turn a wheelbarrow by pulling on the inside handle can you? You have to push it around with the outside handle. Same deal with turning a corner on a horse! You don't want to throw your outside rein away, but you do need to give it enough to allow the bend to come through the corner without crossing the hind legs.

Now ask your friend if you got crossed hind legs, and how far into the corner you rode?

I've done this exercise with a couple of girls that I've taught and teach now, and every time, every one of them has ridden their corners within a metre of the corner. In grand prix dressage, you need to ride your corners 1m in, and these girls are riding their corners like you should in Grand Prix :)
To make it a bit easier, stand in the corner of the arena, take one big step into the middle of the arena (1m), then another step (makes it 2m) and put a cone where your foot is. Ride between the cone and the corner!!
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post #3 of 5 Old 06-27-2010, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Alberta, Canada
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i know everything about corners don't worry, i just didn't use them last time {eek, was really nervous bout it being my first show and all}. I don't need any advice on corners, I always ride in ot them while schooling, it was just that one show that I totally didn't use them. I need suppling exercises though.
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post #4 of 5 Old 06-27-2010, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Connecticut
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Do you know any lateral movement? Even at the walk they can be extremely useful in getting a horse supple and moving through the back. Shoulder-in, haunches-in and leg yeild (not a true lateral movement) all work very well. Besides those, tons of transitions between the 3 gaits will help bring your horse through from behind. Really mix them up and change gaits every 8 strides or so to keep him focused on you. Last thing I can think of is spiral in/ spiral out. It helps mostly with trotting. It gets the inside leg to outside rein contact better established. That's all I can think of for now

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #5 of 5 Old 06-28-2010, 12:50 PM
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Suppleness is rooted in the rider's hands. If you have hard hands, your horse can never be supple. Work to make your arms softer and ride more with your body and legs and let your horse reach for the contact instead of you pulling him there.
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