Horse Training – Lateral Suppleness

To help sharpen your horse to your aids, practice the following exercise.

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The Spanish Riding School in Vienna

Place 2 jump rails approximately 14 feet apart on one side of a circle. Start by riding a circle and incorporating the poles within the circle. Due to the poles being on a straight line, ride the poles in a straight line each time you approach them. This means that part of your circle will have an arc; and a small portion, where the poles are, will have a flat section.

On the portion of the circle that is an arc keep the horse’s body on the same arc as the circle by riding with your inside leg on the girth with your inside rein to create bend, outside leg behind the girth and outside rein for support. This will

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Use a circle with 2 poles to help establish bend and get your horse listening

 help establish bend and be useful as a suppleness exercise. When you approach the flat portion of the circle, straighten your horse by using outside rein and leg.

As you and your horse become accustomed to the poles perform a transition in between the poles. Start at the walk and HALT each time you pass through between the poles. Once you have successfully and consistently perfrmed a halt between the poles, complete the exercise at the trot with a halt in the middle of the poles.

To do this exercise properly, your horse must be going forward and be obedient and willing to act on your downward transition aids as well as your upward transition aids.

~TIP~ Plan your ride and look forward to the poles on the ground. Aim to the middle of the poles by keeping your legs ‘hugging’ the horse and your reins maintaining contact.

About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
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2 Responses to Horse Training – Lateral Suppleness

  1. Kim Wende says:

    So will this exercise be good for horses when lunging them?

  2. Laura says:

    Thank you for your question. Jumping while on the lunge is a good way to establish suppleness and develop strength for the horse. This is ment to be a bending circle, then straight over the pole exercise. If you can manage to get your horse bending and then straight while lunging then yes it is a good exercise.

    I would caution people about doing too much jumping while on the lunge as it does put alot torque or twisting motion on th ehorse’s legs.


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