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  1. #1
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    Default Creative ideas for lateral work schooling?

    Hi everyone,

    I've been working on developing the lateral work and transitions between lateral movements with my horse and I am wondering if anyone has some creative exercises/combinations of things that they like to do.

    We do a lot of the SI/HI octagon, play with SI/HI/renvers transitions and entwickeln, make bigger steps/smaller steps within the lateral work, do legyield/HP transitions, do the SI/HP stair steps, try to pick out sequences from the tests to play with, etc etc, but I am wondering if anyone would like to share some of their favorites to give us something a little different.

    Horse does changes and/or holds the counter canter if requested so if a favorite pattern requires either it's fine.

    Would appreciate any ideas!



  2. #2
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    I like shoulder-in down the longside to E/B and then mediums across the short diagonal. Also, half-pass zig zags. SI or HI on a circle, and steep HP or LY (like a half diagonal) for loosening the horse through the lateral work.



  3. #3
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    You say HP/LY - and I dearly hope you don't mean left HP to left LY as the two movements are so far removed that you simply muddle them together.
    A good exercise to begin the zig zags is left HP, keep a left flexion and then right LY with flexion, and then to left HP (so the bend stays the same and the direction changes). This can be done w/t/c. An extension is to get the horse poker straight and do the same zig zag motion, with an extreme focus on sideways and not so much on forward.
    Then to the actual zig zag, begin a left HP, immediately straighten and flex right (while still moving left) and once the right flexion is there, straightening, SI right and then to a right HP. For now when the suppleness and timing is not so good it will take 10-15 strides to get the flexion changed, eventually you get this down to 1 stride (and add a flying change, and then cut down each HP to 6 strides, etc..). Again, if you have the changes consistent, this is a w/t/c exercise - pay attention to the quality of the canter and the change.

    For a canter exercise, and this is great for mobility of the inside hind, reach in the HP and carrying in the pirouettes. Start on a 15m circle in walk (eventually you will be on a 6m volte) bring the haunches in, the horse is straight nose to tail (so now, leg yielding left on a circle to the left with the horse nearing perpendicular to the circle line), ask for a canter and maintain the alignment. 1 stride is great - 2 is awesome - 3 is all really one should ask for in the beginning and might be a bit greedy. Walk and ask again. As the horse gets stronger ask for more. This is by far, my most favorite suppling exercise for a PSG horse.

    I should also add, it is all well and good to ride around doing exercises - however if they are not ridden to the letter, with purpose and a good understanding of the desired outcomes, very little is accomplished by them. Really ride an exercise with purpose and feeling and if an adjustment needs to be made (ie you are riding a HP/SI stair and the horse is falling over the inside leg - do a LY the other way to get him up on his legs) then make the adjustment, dont ride through for the sake of "this is what my 101 Dressage Exercises book says".

    Good luck!



  4. #4
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    What specifically are you trying to accomplish? What are your horses weaknesses?
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    What specifically are you trying to accomplish? What are your horses weaknesses?
    I am trying to accomplish the rather general goal of developing the lateral work and the transitions between the lateral work with my horse, one of whose weaknesses is that he could stand to do this better.

    Perhaps you could share some of your favorite excercises from the overall menu?



  6. #6
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    I prefer to utilize lateral work for their gymnastic benefits, rather than do them just to do them.

    Some things that you can do to improve balance and attentiveness (which it sounds like what you're after?) is to incorporate shapes at random into the schooling aka ribboning.
    So, for instance si/rv/si/volte/hi/canter/hp/volte/hp/piro/medium/cc etc
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    I prefer to utilize lateral work for their gymnastic benefits, rather than do them just to do them.
    Perhaps you can share how you evaluate a horse's strengths and weakness through use of the exercises, and how you proceed depending on what you find. What are some of the most revealing tests? And the most effective solutions?

    This way readers, myself and others who may be reading, can self-test and then have a road map with which to proceed.


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    Perhaps you can share how you evaluate a horse's strengths and weakness through use of the exercises, and how you proceed depending on what you find. What are some of the most revealing tests? And the most effective solutions?

    This way readers, myself and others who may be reading, can self-test and then have a road map with which to proceed.
    Meupatdoes, with all due respect to your very nice riding, I'm also confused about what you're asking. It seems that if you can execute the things you mention in your first post, you're doing exactly what I would do to supple and strengthen and loosen a horse. I also wonder what you are trying to strengthen in your horses and trying to accomplish. What are they doing well or not doing well? Do haunches trail in the work too much? Do they lead too much? Does your horse bend enough? Flex too much or not enough? Does he step under enough? I know from your posts and your pictures that you're a pretty accomplished rider. It would help if you could explain the things you want to target (jaw suppleness? Bending? Hind leg strength? Mind engagement?).
    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by J-Lu View Post
    Meupatdoes, with all due respect to your very nice riding, I'm also confused about what you're asking. It seems that if you can execute the things you mention in your first post, you're doing exactly what I would do to supple and strengthen and loosen a horse. I also wonder what you are trying to strengthen in your horses and trying to accomplish. What are they doing well or not doing well? Do haunches trail in the work too much? Do they lead too much? Does your horse bend enough? Flex too much or not enough? Does he step under enough? I know from your posts and your pictures that you're a pretty accomplished rider. It would help if you could explain the things you want to target (jaw suppleness? Bending? Hind leg strength? Mind engagement?).
    I am not sure why people can't just give general advice??? There are plenty of people on COTH besides me who would probably not mind reading through some general suggestions on lateral work to freshen the schooling routine. I find myself doing the same thing every ride, would like some new ideas.

    So... if a reader's horse's haunches are trailing, what would you suggest for them?
    If another reader's horse's haunches are leading, what would you suggest for them?
    If another reader's horse is not bending enough, what would you suggest for them?
    Same for readers who horses flex too much, or, alternatively, not enough?

    What do you recommend for riders that want to target suppleness?
    What about the ones who want to target hind leg strength or mind engagement? What do those guys need to do specifically differently from the "suppleness" folks?

    What are all of these tremendously specific lateral work exercises that may have someone ill-advisedly targeting suppleness when they should be doing a completely different hind leg strength exercise instead?

    Surely there are several readers who would benefit from some of these ideas. Some whose horses haunches might trail, some whose might lead.
    Last edited by meupatdoes; Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:32 PM.


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  10. #10
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    Mainly, because I'm a scientist and I like to identify a problem and fix it. Generalizations often don't work because I'd have to write a chapter to address all of the potential issues with "lateral work", which may or may not apply to your original post. No one wants to read a chapter on CotH. And my paragraph features aren't working currently so this is one large paragraph - a further hassle to read. I think what you are already doing is good and enough. I also think that combining lateral work with medium gaits, like a poster here mentioned and like several mid-upper level tests suggest, are great strength development tools. If you master the exercises you mention, there's no need to do more. Lateral work causes stress on joints and should be used sparingly an in accordance with muscle development, in my opinion. Shifting lateral work (SI to HI to HP, etc.) can also stress joints and kill impulsion and kill the use of the back if the rider isn't riding correctly or the horse is stiff or whatever. If the work you are doing isn't correct for whatever reason, examine what isn't correct about it and fix that. Is it you the rider using too much or not enough aids? Too much inside hand or hands in general? Too much outside leg/seat bone? Is your horse stiff in the bend? If the work you are doing is correct, and the horse is accepting it correctly, I wouldn't suggest doing more of that. Lateral work is hard on joints. Spend more time doing longitudinal adjustments and gymnastics. The lateral work will improve. If there are other things that aren't working about your lateral work that requires more work, I'm sorry, but you'll have to be more specific, not more general.
    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    I am not sure why people can't just give general advice??? There are plenty of people on COTH besides me who would probably not mind reading through some general suggestions on lateral work to freshen the schooling routine. I find myself doing the same thing every ride, would like some new ideas.

    So... if a reader's horse's haunches are trailing, what would you suggest for them?
    If another reader's horse's haunches are leading, what would you suggest for them?
    If another reader's horse is not bending enough, what would you suggest for them?
    Same for readers who horses flex too much, or, alternatively, not enough?

    What do you recommend for riders that want to target suppleness?
    What about the ones who want to target hind leg strength or mind engagement?

    Surely there are several readers who would benefit from some of these ideas. Some whose horses haunches might trail, some whose might lead.
    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation



  11. #11
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    I think you're far more accomplished than I am, but I can give the specific things I'm working on, anyway, and maybe they'll seem relevant to someone...

    I'm recovering from a bad back sprain which left my left leg not fully functional. 10 months later I'm still working on regaining functionality, and it causes a lot of crookedness and lack of strength in that leg I'm working through, so most of the exercises I do are to fix me, not my horse.

    Every time I start sitting crooked I get told to do haunches in when in lessons. For some reason, that actually straightens me, particularly if I'm leaning out/not bending T around my leg on turns/circles.

    When I work in half pass I kind of drift into crooked, so while maintaining the same bend I do half pass until I start to lose it, then leg yield the other direction, then back to half pass. Because it gets me straighter, it also helps my horse to engage and lift and better half pass. I turn this into half passes across the arena, and instead of thinking "half halt" when I start to lose it, I think "leg yield" which fixes me and gets me out of my horse's way.

    The hardest thing for me on horseback since my injury has been leg yield right, so I've been doing two exercises to help with that. One is start with a half pass with little bend before I start leg yielding, then turn it into a leg yield. It keeps me riding my horse's body straight enough or else I lose his haunches. I've also been doing a hybrid leg yield on a circle/turn on the forehand - making him quick off my left leg with the assistance of whip taps when needed. I actually get him over-responsive since I have a hard time applying any cues with that leg, and it improves all our work, from lateral to transitions.

    My horse has a tendency to get tense, and if it's just a tight tense I will do the ToF/leg yield hybrid I mentioned to get him crossing over behind or just a slight haunches in. Just that little bit of bend or crossing gets his back moving, and if his back is moving his mind settles.

    We hadn't done much in the way of lengthening for a while since I wasn't strong enough to ride them and he lost fitness while I was out. I tend to do a shoulder in around the corner leading into them, and that gets him ready to go as soon as he's straight and can use both hind legs evenly to push forward.

    I've taken lessons on a mare who has a tendency to drop on her forehand and each time she starts leaning I ask for haunches in or out which gets her to pick herself up.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  12. #12
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    For me, all work really should be used as a specific aspirin and is therapeutic, applying what the horse needs, from large circles to voltes, and specific lateral work to greater thrust after using collecting exercises. That said imho using all the exercises (and esp their entwicheln componets are key)are important. For me, most of the time the exercises which control the shoulders (sf/si on the various tracks/renvers) are the most important ones. Additionally I really like to do the exercises on a curved line (the more trained the smaller the circles) in combinations of a figure 8 (i.e. si to counter si, or travers to renvers) Riding squares are esp useful. That makes the horse the most reactive and supple and moving with ease. And one of the best exercise to get a horse more upright/between the aids is a reverse pirouette in walk. For horses which need clearer self carriage/reactivity, rein backs (esp for the basis for piaffe).

    If the haunches are trailing, the question is in what aspect? Half pass? Then volte in travers to half pass/half volte to half pass repeatedly. But usually more control of shoulders in the first place (ie shoulder in). Shoulder in entwicheln actually helps with the adductors here as well. I think pasade can be useful here too.

    For bending, the question has to be what level of horse. Clearer lateral flexion at the atlas/axis and better control of the shoulders, more clear rider aids (opening slightly if needed/etc) (weight/placement of legs/specific rein aids). For a more upper level horses the figure 8s above.

    For lower level horses suppleness: going straight/clear corners (three bending steps/etc), spiraling, for certain horses leg yielding (in stair steps), serpentines/half circles/broken lines in the various types). For mid level horses: reinbacks and transitions, lots of voltes and smaller figure 8s/half circles.

    Personally I dont use LY much, I would rather use yielding to the leg (on a spiraling from A to C) which includes bending that the straight variety (except head to the wall). And I rarely do ly/hp together, prefer hp to straight to hp. And prefer sf/si/r (shoulder control) before t/hp.

    Imho the question is whether the horse needs to develop adductors or abductors through lateral work or better (upright) balance (rein back/reverse pirouettes), etc.
    I.D.E.A. yoda



  13. #13
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    With all due respect, to cover that question as a generality would involve me writing a book. Several before me have done a decent job of doing so.
    Manolo Mendez's Facebook page mentions a play book which features many different ribboning sequences.
    Perhaps Erik Herbermann Dressage Formula, or d'Endrody Give Your Horse A Chance would help give you some insight into new exercises.
    You could always watch old video of Nuno Oliviera... He's where I go for visual inspiration.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble


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  14. #14
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    To develop more adjustability in all of my work with my guy, I play with two main things:
    - stride length
    - degree of bend
    with the caveat that during all of those I'm mindful of the amount of horse in front of the saddle. My guy (dutch harness horse...) likes to get high and tight in the neck if the work gets intense, so during all the work I like to do a check-- can I ask him to lengthen and stretch his neck a bit downwards without him burying his brisket in the dirt?

    For example, canter pirouettes. I start the pirouette schooling session with squares or triangles, and occasionally mix up the pattern with different degrees of turn. If at any time he gets stiff through the neck, I yield him off the inside leg while stretching him down (still in the pirouette). The stretch is fairly minimal to the observer, but it's enough that he stops bracing the underneck against my hand. Then back to the pirouettes.

    The same principle applies to all the work for my guy.

    Other fun exercises:
    Shoulder fore in the counter canter (or renvers in true canter): Keeps the shoulders upright between the two reins and reveals any holes in your straightness. If your horse has changes, they'll come out here unless your horse is honestly on the aids (assuming you don't make a mistake with your own balance... which has happened to me).

    Extended or medium gaits in a yield to the leg across the diagonal: especially helpful for horses who rush or blast through your half halts. If the tempo gets too quick and chargy, steepen the leg yield as you ask for a more collected trot or canter. Common pitfalls: break in the bend from shoulders to haunches as the shoulders fall to the outside.

    Not lateral work, but I also like to take a turning step or two in reinback. It's a more advanced twist on turn on the forehand.



  15. #15
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    Here's a curveball: How about some cavaletti and small gymnastic jumps with lateral work and transitions? Say put a small crossrail on each quarterline at the corners, so as if making a smaller ring. go over one straight, leg yield to the other across the ring, and pop over it straight. You could do that with cavaletti, too. The trick is to make sure you're straight before and after each jump!

    You could also play with canter distances between jumps if you want to change it up. Or go outside and do all of the lateral work on trails/in a field.


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmmoran View Post
    Here's a curveball: How about some cavaletti and small gymnastic jumps with lateral work and transitions? Say put a small crossrail on each quarterline at the corners, so as if making a smaller ring. go over one straight, leg yield to the other across the ring, and pop over it straight. You could do that with cavaletti, too. The trick is to make sure you're straight before and after each jump!

    You could also play with canter distances between jumps if you want to change it up. Or go outside and do all of the lateral work on trails/in a field.
    I really like this!

    What I like to do is play with transitions within the gait while in the lateral work. Take a more collected and steeper angle and then push forward thinking a lengthening or a medium and take less of an angle. I find that this help to get more connected and have more control over exactly where you are putting them in the lateral work.



  17. #17
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    Reverse pirouette is new to me, would you mind describing it?



  18. #18
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    Here is a video with some sequences that might give you some ideas

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMLUWeJZwwo
    Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
    Alfred A. Montapert


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  19. #19
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    For what it is worth jumping/ground poles are of use at any level. One of the most winning dressage horses of all time in Germany (170?? S classes) did the best when he was jumped over BIG fences first (and it makes for a better seated rider as well). Calculated uses of exercises.
    Last edited by ideayoda; Apr. 12, 2013 at 05:17 PM.
    I.D.E.A. yoda



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    So... if a reader's horse's haunches are trailing, what would you suggest for them?
    If another reader's horse's haunches are leading, what would you suggest for them?
    If another reader's horse is not bending enough, what would you suggest for them?
    Same for readers who horses flex too much, or, alternatively, not enough?

    What do you recommend for riders that want to target suppleness?
    What about the ones who want to target hind leg strength or mind engagement? What do those guys need to do specifically differently from the "suppleness" folks?
    .
    If the horse is crooked should not that be the focus, rather then the exercize per say? In my experience lateral work is great but there is only so much I want to correct during a movment. I have had issues with my horse wanting to lead with the haunches. For me its imperative I stop doing the lateral movement, do a 10m circle to re-estabish bend, then I can do a great legyield or HP.

    If my horse is weaker on one side or the other I want to work on exercizes that engage that side-- namely SF and some spiral in and out.

    I am targeting suppleness at all times, not just when I do a certain movement. I guess I think more basic here then many people. I don't like to do a lot of advanced stuff for remedies, I use basics like transitions, circles, simple LY to isolate and solve problems and then do lenthenings, SI, HI, LY, etc etc.

    If a horse isn't bending enough I would ask why? Is he stiff in the back? I would see if the horse needed some long and low work, simple figures, etc. Again, why play around with SI/HI/HP on a horse with some basic flaws?

    I guess for me I need to have TL/1st level connection/straightness/etc before i play with 2nd level stuff. Others may think differently. I hope this all makes sense.


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