View Full Version : Curling fixed, now lateral work

Galloping Granny
May. 15, 2012, 11:37 PM
I posted a couple of weeks ago regarding a green horse I'm training who has a tendency to curl. I got some great suggestions and those, along with what I was already doing, have solved the problem. She is now reaching reliably forward into the bit, stretches down to my hand in free walk when she's relaxed, and her stretchy trot is good and getting better by the day. She even stays connected in the reinback where she used to put her nose on her chest! Thank you to everyone who offered suggestions!

Since you were all so helpful, I thought I'd seek suggestions on something else. I am very spoiled in that the horses of the bloodline I have bred for years find lateral work so easy that it's just not an effort at all. This mare is not related. Her self carriage is fabulous and her movement is very uphill, but lateral work isn't as easy for her. What kind of exercises would help that? I supple her with turns on the forehand, then leg yielding at walk, and of course bending lines. Any suggestions to help build the lateral work would be much appreciated!

May. 16, 2012, 12:08 AM
This is purely going by a guess from your first post and what I've seen on other horses, and may or may not actually apply, but I would guess that rather than actually being "fixed" in a few weeks (which is typically not something you can do with a true curler) the horse has a tight back and is holding her head in a position which fakes you out. Especially if she's a naturally talented mover, that's a likely case.

I'd be working on movement in her back through circles, changes of bend, etc. Once her back has more mobility lateral work will become easier. Though, of course, some horses are more naturally talented than others.

Galloping Granny
May. 16, 2012, 07:46 AM
netg, I agree that curling can't be "fixed" in a couple of weeks, but when I wrote I had already made a lot of progress already, and recently the lightbulb kind of went on and it got a lot more consistent. Not saying she might not be a little tight in the back - that's why we are working a lot on stretching. But she just isn't as supple laterally as many I've ridden. I guess continuing to work on stretching and bending would help the lateral work. Thanks!

She is not in a "headset", she i honestly reaching into my hand and will lengthen and shorten her frame at my request.

May. 16, 2012, 08:07 AM
For explaining lateral work to young horses, once they understand how to move off the leg, which is something I introduce from the start, I love spiral circles, especially pushing out while maintaining bend. As for early use of moving off the leg, if I get a slight sideways drift initially, I'm happy.
Of course you first of all need to explain circles and change of rein, which I'm sure you have.

May. 16, 2012, 08:26 AM
I agree with merrygoround about the use of spiraling circles. You can start to ask for one or two steps of leg yield, and then straighten, as you spiral out, being sure to maintain the connection with the outside rein. As your horse learns to step under you can gradually ask for more steps.