Teach your horse to turn
teach-your-horse-to-turn A serious issue for many riders is to ride perfectly round circles. The natural asymmetry of the horse doesn't make circles easy. Most horses are bend to one side in the body, so if they are left bend, it's difficult to turn to the right and if they are right bend, it's difficult to turn to the left. Instead of 'turning' they often choose to 'fall'; they choose to lean on the inside shoulder or fall over the outside shoulder. Now there’s a huge difference between ‘falling’ and ‘turning’ whilst riding on a circle and we need to prevent a horse from falling in or over his shoulders. To do so we need to teach a horse to turn.

Falling on the inside shoulder

teach-a-horse-to-turnWhen my horse Maestro was younger it was almost impossible to turn to the left, because his 'natural' bend was to the right. Therefore he either refused to turn or he fell in to the left like a motor cycle. The reason why it’s so difficult to ride a nice round circle both on the right as on the left rein, is the natural asymmetry of the horse. Because when the natural lateral bend in the body is for example a right bend, as with Maestro, it’s especially difficult to make a circle to the left, because of the short muscles on the right side. If a horse can’t or won’t bend his body, the horse has the tendency to lean or fall in like a motor cycle instead. This is called vertical imbalance. Therefore it’s one of the most difficult things for a horse but also one of the most important things to teach to a horse: to bend his body to both sides and to teach a horse to turn. So there’s a huge difference between ‘falling’ and ‘turning’. Only when a horse can give you the bend to the opposite side of his natural asymmetry, he will be able to make nice round circles.

Falling over the outside shoulder

falling-outSo a few years ago Maestro was extremely right bended and he was left handed and his right hind leg was much more pushy than his left one. As a result of this ‘natural asymmetry’ in his body and limbs, his center of mass shifted towards his left front leg. When we started to trot and canter on the circle to the right the centrifugal forces came in ;) so his tendency was to make the circle to the right bigger and bigger. With Straightness Training Maestro’s body and limbs developped symmetrically and with more equal use of his body and limbs he learned to keep his center of mass in the middle and to step under this point of weight with his inside hind leg. With his supportive hind leg he could not only carry himself in a better way, but he could also carry me properly. Only when a horse can keep his center of mass in the right position and he can support himself with his inside hind leg, he will be able to turn and keep his balance on nice round circles. To teach a horse to turn, we need Straightness Training! I've been doing Straightness Training for a long time and now you can learn from the 'mistakes' I made along the way, to fast-track yourself to your riding goals.

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