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Creative ideas for lateral work schooling?

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  • #21
    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'm guessing you are a lower level rider.


    • #22
      Nice video of Nuno O. This work is very much like what was presented in a recent clinic. One exercise I picked up was HI to a very large TOF maintaining the bend of the HI and then continuing on in HI, same bend. So, HI left, generous-sized "TOF" to the right, still with the positioning of the left HI, continuing again in left HI. Done in walk. Don't recall seeing it performed in trot.

      I also like HI to Renvers on a figure-eight. HI on one circle, maintaining the bend to Renvers on the next circle. Keep the circles generous or it's too hard, especially when doing it in trot.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks everyone for your responses!
        I had a really nice, soft and contemplative ride with my guy this morning and tried out some of the things mentioned here.

        Originally posted by ~DQ~ View Post
        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.
        Thank you for breaking this down like this. I haven't yet really started putting a zig zag together so this makes for a nice road map. I think the horse is ready, I just didn't have my plan together!

        Originally posted by ~DQ~ View Post
        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.
        Yes! Thank you! I used to do something like this in our repertoire but then it fell by the wayside as we fell into our little rut. I came back to it today for a few tries each direction this morning and it made our canter thereafter so nice!

        Originally posted by netg View Post
        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.
        Love this. Sometimes when things start to slip it is easy to just go "Flail!! Flailspasm!" and your idea is probably much more productive.

        Also, I hope you heal soon so that you can enjoy every bit of loveliness from of your lovely, LOVELY horse. Reggie and I will be sending you Reggie-juju! (We send some to Eddo Hoekstra every time we do a SI/HI octagon, so when we do some right leg yield we will send some your way too!)

        Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
        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)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.
        Thank you very much for this. It hadn't quite occurred to me to put Two Different Circles together with the same bend and thus touch on both HI and RV (...noooot the most creative thinker, this one) so I was very, "OH. WHOLE NEW WORLD, O_O" when I read that figure 8 exercise and imagined the possibilities.

        Also, I have several horses that I ride in various stages and the brief outline of how the lateral work progresses as the horse does was really helpful.

        Originally posted by cnm161 View Post
        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.
        I am starting the triangle with my guy and he also has a tendency to be a bit bracey. So this was very timely and helpful!

        Originally posted by cnm161 View Post
        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).
        Not quite sure I have the balls to try this one on for size just yet! But here's hoping for one day!

        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!
        Hm. My horse doubles as a hunter and the hunter training is so focused on riding a ruler straight line (even if that line is curved, it must be straight and one must never step even one inch off the balance beam!), I'm not sure I could bring myself to ride to a jump with the whole balance beam sliding sideways. It may be applicable to a young dressage horse ridden without intention to pursue jumping in the future, but for an established (if not heavily shown, haha) hunter who is trained to "lock-n-load" and hunt the gap I think it would blow his mind. He tries super hard and I think he would get all a-whirl.

        Thanks again to everyone who gave exercises. I am hoping to do a spring "checking in" video of my guy and if some of what you guys have mentioned makes it in (and isn't executed with toooooo much flailspasm on my part) I'll post the link. Somewhere out there a little red horse will be trying what you guys said!

        The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
        Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
        The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


        • #24
          My horse and I are working at Second level with drifts into Third at this point.

          One of my favourite exercises came from 101 Dressage Exercises, and has been heavily modified, but the base pattern is essentially the same. It includes a constant change of rein so you don't have to work one side and then the other. It can be made extremely simple for the greenest horse or rider, or pushed up into something challenging.

          Start with a 15m circle left at C
          Proceed to E, half 10m circle left to X, return to track at H
          Circle right 15m at C
          Proceed to B, half 10m circle left to X, return to track at M

          Simple pattern, endless possibilities. One of my most often use variations has SI from H-E and M-B, half-pass X-H and X-M. When we get a little sloppy with finishing the half-pass I might ride to V and P and return to the track at S and R, going into shoulder-out to H and M with a very deliberate bringing the shoulders in front of the haunches, followed by a deliberate change of bend. Back off the challenge and use leg yield instead of half-pass.

          Canter the circle, canter the entire exercise with simple or flying changes at H and M, or counter canter the corners and change at C. Make the circle bigger or smaller. Add a smaller circle inside the 15m circle when you cross the centreline. Do travers H-E/M-B and be deliberate about finishing the travers and going onto the half 10m circle (don't just slide into the turn).

          With the constant changes of rein and lateral work I can really see when the transitions in and out start to "slide", and I can have a go at fixing it on the next pass round the pattern. If we're really having an issue with one, I'll just drop out of the pattern and go round the arena doing whatever I need to get that transition or lateral working better, and then pick up the pattern again to see if we can keep that quality. I can start the exercise with a very simple variation to warm up, and gradually increase the challenge as we ride through the pattern. This also keeps my horse listening - he may know where we're going, but he doesn't know how until I tell him.


          • #25
            Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
            Love this. Sometimes when things start to slip it is easy to just go "Flail!! Flailspasm!" and your idea is probably much more productive.

            Also, I hope you heal soon so that you can enjoy every bit of loveliness from of your lovely, LOVELY horse. Reggie and I will be sending you Reggie-juju! (We send some to Eddo Hoekstra every time we do a SI/HI octagon, so when we do some right leg yield we will send some your way too!)
            Awww, thanks! My horse has been playing the role of wise old schoolmaster while I try to fix myself, though I'm sure he's impatient on the inside waiting for me to get better.
            If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


            • #26
              Yeah, so I will print this out and read it again in about five years!!! Maybe ten! But very interesting to imagine all of these exercises!
              LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...


              • #27
                Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                A reverse pirouette is sort of like thinking of a turn on the forehand, but rather than looking away from the direction of travel the horse positioned into it with hindquarters coming around the forehand (think a kind of renvers with the forehand relatively on the spot).
                thanks. I think I understand. I might try this one next time I ride Bali.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by SendenHorse View Post
                  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.
                  By the way, I completely agree with this.

                  Ususally when people ask an OP 10,000 follow-up questions 'to get more information' before they can answer a query, they have no intention of ever answering the original question. Even if the OP answers those 10,000 questions ("Well, mine occasionally leads with the haunches," or whatever) they don't then say, "Aha, ok, so in that case, do this." (Btw, your circle to reestablish bend and then carry on is exactly what I do in this situation.) The OP never gets an actual answer just all these almost accusatory questions. I never find that helpful, whether I am the OP or whether someone else started the thread and I find myself also interested in what people have to say about it.

                  I love the part I bolded. I honestly never really school trying to address specific stuff. It is always more general, like, "Let's try for extra lightness today," or "let's be a little brighter" or something. If a horse is very green I might be addressing a noticeable one-sidedness or significant issues in the contact, but that is in Circles And Straight Lines Land. On the more advanced horses, I try to establish a forward, supple connection, see how much of the horse I can access within that, and if one of the frogs jumps out of the basket somewhere we go put the frog back in as best we can and then try again.
                  The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                  Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                  The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                  • #29
                    FLAILSPASM! OMG, I'm not the only one!


                    • #30
                      Ah yes maybe your horse won't benefit much from that then! hehe those hunters are too smart for their own good.

                      I'm guessing you are a lower level rider.
                      Well that was rude... I have shown third level... With my mare that really enjoyed and benefitted from cavaletti and jumps. Especially in the winter when riding in the indoor gets dull. It was really helpful for her to have to do shoulder-in half the long side, listen to me, straighten, go over a jump in good form, and repeat with some other lateral work. There's nothing wrong with an upper-level horse taking it down a notch with what lateral work to do if they are also working on other things like small jumps. Gymnastics should be incorporated into a lot more work schedules. They are incredibly beneficial.


                      • #31
                        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).
                        I.D.E.A. yoda


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by TickleFight View Post
                          I'm guessing you are a lower level rider.
                          Condescending much?

                          I do something similar with my horse. Leg yield, SI or HI towards a pole/cavaletti and straighten a couple strides before the pole.

                          I am a lower level eventer. . I guess I should leave the lateral work for upper level riders


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by TickleFight View Post
                            I'm guessing you are a lower level rider.
                            Why would you say that? This is a good exercise...the OP is a hunter rider....and jumping is a fun diversion for dressage horses?
                            Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


                            • #34
                              Just have to say - lots of great exercises on this thread. Going to have lots of supple horses in the coming weeks!!