3 Ways To Improve Your Lateral Work
In Straightness Training (ST), we use three ways to develop a lateral movement
. For example, if we want to develop the exercise 'shoulder-in', where the shoulders are more 'in' related to the position of the hindquarters, we can approach this exercise from three directions
. To make this more clear, imagine three circles:
🔵 a big blue circle ⚪️ a smaller white circle 🔴 an even smaller red circle. We start using these imaginary circles
All lateral movements derive from the exercise LFS
and this is a sort of our 'point zero' because without a proper LFS it's difficult to create quality in the lateral movements. LFS means:
- Lateral bending in the body
- Forward down tendency in head and neck
- Stepping under the center of mass with the inside hind leg
So at first, we strive for moving in LFS on a circle where the inside shoulder and inside hip aligned - which means that the inside hind leg steps at least step in the same track as the inside front leg - or even better, in between the tracks of the front legs. It also means that both shoulders and haunches move on the white circle.
From this position - with the whole body completely on the white circle - we can do three things:
- We can ask the shoulders in towards the red circle.
- We can ask the haunches out towards the blue circle.
- We can do both at the same time (1+2=3).
In ST, we teach our horse all three possibilities, and we do this not just for fun, but for a reason:
This way we are able to rebalance
either the shoulders or the hindquarters or both if one or more areas get out of balance. Plus, it avoids that we start riding only the 'name' of the exercise, rather than that we focus on the 'essence'
of the exercise where we encourage our horse to keep the center of mass in the correct position and support it with the hindquarters so the front legs can move more freely.
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