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Improving lateral work

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  • Improving lateral work

    Just rode my first 3rd level test yesterday and other than a few rider mistakes I was very pleased with my horse! Lateral work is not his strong point (especially when he gets tight) so I spent the winter going sideways! Does anyone have any suggestions, other than to keep working on this? I'm hoping it will get easier with time and strength. He is not a huge mover, so when things get difficult, he just gets conservative. Trying to find ways to get bigger movement all around, especially yesterday when he was super quiet in warm-up. Thanks.

    Carolyn
    Mirror Image 2001-2007

  • #2
    Hey, I had the same problem last weekend at OUR first time at Third! I think it's me, trying too hard in competition or overthinking, because we can do laterals fine at home and at clinics. One clinician I work with notes that I have more trouble with leftward laterals than right-handed ones. I'm right handed, and she believes that explains it.

    I'll be checking back in for tips!

    Comment


    • #3
      I too am striving to improve the quality of the steps/consistency in both directions of our lateral work and am looking forwards to more comments/ideas/exercises. In my case its partly that we are just beginning this journey and need more time to develop the lateral movements---but also our feel for the accuracy and timing of the aides. I too tend to over think and get to rushing.
      Redbud Ranch
      Check us out on FB

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      • #4
        One of my dressage trainers told me once to keep going sideways. Just. Keep. Going. Half pass positioning is wonderful but if you aren't actually going sideways you're missing the point.

        She had me go all the way across the arena starting in legyield, switching to halfpass for a few steps, switching back to legyield, and so on.

        She encouraged me to go do this in a huge field so that we had alllllll the space to just. keep. going.


        Also, head to the wall legyield at various speeds (when your horse is organized enough for this) is another good one.
        The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
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        • #5
          i think lateral work is something that just takes time. It is not really a natural way for a horse to move and for the rider we usually put weight in the wrong seat bone and collapse.

          to the OP: if you post vids you might get better feedback. as it is there is no way of knowing what you need

          Comment


          • #6
            Welcome to my world! I just finished up a two day training session where this is all that we did. We started by really getting my horse round, over his back and sitting evenly and activating both hind legs. We lived in shoulder in. A very deep, almost 4 track shoulder in. Started with working in a collected walk. Then moving on to the trot. For the lateral work, shoulder in and leg yield and then the halfpass. Always making sure that the hind legs lead the way...by the end, it was really amazing how much over tracking and articulation of the hind legs I was getting. If there were any moments of tension, or loss of balance, we went immediately back to the shoulder in.

            As the instructor said, it was about being able to put the horse's hind where ever I wanted it, but I had to get him very balanced, round and uphill before I could do that.

            Good Luck!
            "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
            "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
            Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by BetterOffRed View Post
              Always making sure that the hind legs lead the way..
              I think you mean "always making sure the shoulders lead the way" .. since haunches leading is a error in SI, HI and LY.

              also, i know you did, but to the OP remember to give breaks often becuase lateral work really loads the inside hind legs and the horse will need breaks so the muscles dont start cramping.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mbm View Post
                I think you mean "always making sure the shoulders lead the way" .. since haunches leading is a error in SI, HI and LY.
                Acutally, because I have a problem of allowing the shoulders to pop out, and the haunches to drift behind in the leg yield and the half pass, trainer actually had me get the haunches to lead.
                "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
                "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
                Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mbm View Post
                  I think you mean "always making sure the shoulders lead the way" .. since haunches leading is a error in SI, HI and LY.
                  Actually, because I have a problem of allowing the shoulders to pop out, and the haunches to drift behind in the leg yield and the half pass, trainer actually had me get the haunches to lead.
                  "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
                  "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
                  Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Shoulder in before lateral really makes a difference imo

                    Do a few steps of deep si (shouder fore?) then straighten then ask for the lateral I always do better with prep plus if they dont have a nice enough si i know we have more problems to address first.


                    Also cavaletti work helps to really make sure they are through and swinging. Try it with different tempos then down to half halts over raised poles (at least four) asking for collection and give yourself room to do a lateral movement a few strides after. Make sure the horse is able to hh correctly so you are controlled and same tempo start and finish of the poles then continue straigh a few strides then ask for your lateral.
                    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

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                    • #11
                      You might try doing some canter between lateral work sessions. Take the energy and fluidity of the canter through the downward, and flow it into your S/I, H/I or H/P, metering it, and putting it into a jump up, jump up, feeling on each stride.

                      As he gets stronger you will need to do it less and less, but it keeps you from working and reworking, trying to get the energy into it.
                      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
                        Also cavaletti work helps to really make sure they are through and swinging. Try it with different tempos then down to half halts over raised poles (at least four) asking for collection and give yourself room to do a lateral movement a few strides after. Make sure the horse is able to hh correctly so you are controlled and same tempo start and finish of the poles then continue straigh a few strides then ask for your lateral.
                        I would love to add cavaletti to his repetoire, but the reason he is doing dressage is that he is deathly afraid of jumping! I am a former event rider, so believe me, I would love to jump something He is the one that changed my career path!

                        I want to clear up the fact that I didn't literally spend the winter going sideways...I just know that it is a weakness of his and that with time and strength it will get better. I have to remember the inside leg for impulsion too...very pleased that his canter work is great...as the judge said "it was the highlight of the test!"

                        Even after years of jumping huge courses, I still get nervous to show so I am sure that we were both a little tight riding 3rd 1 for the first time. But, didn't forget the test, and just over-rode a few movements because he was so quiet. He is usually more on his toes and a bit spooky at home. Very excited about his clean changes though, because I have done that all by myself

                        Thanks for the suggestions and it's great to know that I am not alone in this endeavour!
                        Mirror Image 2001-2007

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          1. are you doing any lateral work in-hand?
                          2. Have you found your horse is more apt to give you a haunch or a shoulder when asked?
                          3. Have you tried just having your horse give in the ribcage and maintaining that macaroni shape in whatever you do?
                          4. Do you have a decent wall?
                          5. How's the horse longitudinally? Good mediums? how about your trot halts?
                          6. Gets tight WHERE?
                          www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                          chaque pas est fait ensemble

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There's a reason rhythm and relaxation are at the base of the training scale. Or rhythm and suppleness - and there's a reason those words are interchanged at times.

                            If your horse is tight, that's your first problem to fix before trying to fix lateral.

                            An attitude adjustment in me helped our lateral work x100. I was told to play with it - just go along, ask for a few CORRECT steps, then straighten out. Thinking of it as play in the middle of a long size, and thinking of it as always having to be correct made the difference. It's easy to get correct movement for a few steps. So that's what we did. And now all of a sudden we can go all the way across the arena.

                            As far as correct - make sure your lateral work is doing what it's supposed to. If my horse correctly uses his hind end in shoulder-in his gaits change and all other lateral work improves as well. They have to be using the hind well to help lateral work, and the more uphill and strong your horse gets, the easier it will all become.
                            Originally posted by Silverbridge
                            If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by netg View Post
                              There's a reason rhythm and relaxation are at the base of the training scale. Or rhythm and suppleness - and there's a reason those words are interchanged at times.

                              If your horse is tight, that's your first problem to fix before trying to fix lateral.

                              An attitude adjustment in me helped our lateral work x100. I was told to play with it - just go along, ask for a few CORRECT steps, then straighten out. Thinking of it as play in the middle of a long size, and thinking of it as always having to be correct made the difference. It's easy to get correct movement for a few steps. So that's what we did. And now all of a sudden we can go all the way across the arena.

                              As far as correct - make sure your lateral work is doing what it's supposed to. If my horse correctly uses his hind end in shoulder-in his gaits change and all other lateral work improves as well. They have to be using the hind well to help lateral work, and the more uphill and strong your horse gets, the easier it will all become.
                              WOW! It is as if you were eavesdropping on my lesson this weekend. eerie!
                              "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
                              "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
                              Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Try to give up the idea of doing the lateral work as the end goal. Lateral work is really a set of tools to help the horse become more supple, more balanced, more rhythmical, more uphill, etc...

                                Once I stopped trying to do the various bits of lateral work for the sake of doing bits of lateral work, and learned to use them to help my horse's issues they became easy for both of us. And that does mean doing them "wrong" at times (as BetterOffRed got the haunches leading in leg yield to help her problem with leaving the haunches behind).

                                I also found that making sure we finished the exercise properly helps too. I've spent time doing half a dozen steps of haunches in, bringing shoulders in front of haunches, circling, doing half a dozen steps of HI, bring shoulders in front of haunches, circle, etc down the long sides just to get the transition out of HI better (done correctly each HI is done on the next inside track from the previous one). This helps the HI itself because the horse isn't "sliding out" of the HI when he thinks we're done (approaching a corner for example).

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                                  One of my dressage trainers told me once to keep going sideways. Just. Keep. Going. Half pass positioning is wonderful but if you aren't actually going sideways you're missing the point.She had me go all the way across the arena starting in legyield, switching to halfpass for a few steps, switching back to legyield, and so on.he encouraged me to go do this in a huge field so that we had space to jusone.
                                  This was how I really developed more understanding of the power of lateral work - working in a big field or an empty arena, concentrating on rhythm as we went from SI to HP to SI to LY to HI to SI, ad nauseum. I could feel how each movement asked my horse to engage more. Eventually we were "schwunging" happily in and out of HPs, with the added benefit of being able to ask for more expression or more bend and steeper HP. My performance at shows improved a lot after making "field days" a regular part of my training.
                                  And the "keep going lateral work" is terrific for training - 1st L horses too.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                                    You might try doing some canter between lateral work sessions. Take the energy and fluidity of the canter through the downward, and flow it into your S/I, H/I or H/P, metering it, and putting it into a jump up, jump up, feeling on each stride.

                                    As he gets stronger you will need to do it less and less, but it keeps you from working and reworking, trying to get the energy into it.
                                    I've had good luck with this as well.
                                    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      What DD asked for: Shoulder in along the long side
                                      What DD got: Giraffe impression with a few flying lead changes

                                      Trainer had DD make sure pony was really in front of her leg with some transitions of walk to trot then some half passes. Pony HATES lateral work despite not only knowing how to do it but doing it well. Canter work does help but also making sure you ask for the shoulder in when the shoulder you want to lead with is in the right position. Also it helps some horses to really be looking in the direction you want to go ie almost over bent. Pony doesn't like to be over bent and will quickly become irritated with it. Horse I ride however is really heavy through the front end and leans like a motorcycle on the off shoulder. Counterbalancing him with the opposite hip and opening the rein will get him to correctly balance through the shoulder and not mow through my hands.
                                      Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                                      Originally Posted by alicen:
                                      What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        See I don't agree with just going sideways, all lateral work must be fwd and sideways not the other way around, the rhythm must never change nor should the horse speed up and or slow down.

                                        For me I would prefer 3 good steps and go straight to get the fwd back again than pushing pushing pushing for that sideways, otherwise you are going to encourage the horse to fall out through the shoulder, use to much neck bend etc...

                                        Shoulder fore is something that i ride in most of the time anyway, especially at the canter, turn on the forehand although not a test movement is a good way to get your horse moving from your leg, then leg yield at the walk, and again a few steps then fwd, and a few steps then fwd, then do it in trot etc....

                                        If you are struggling with Shoulder in, do a 10 meter circle then ask again for a few strides, making sure your weight is in your inside stirrup.

                                        cheers

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