Re: Q&A: Flatwork.
How can i improve my horses suppleness in his neck?
Can i be greedy? I will be greedy....
How do you teach leg yeilding and shoulder in? i can do it on one side only.
Suppleness through the neck must be achieved through riding the horse and his whole body. Technically, you aren't just wanting a supple neck to bend left and right, but a supple topline from his poll to the top of his tail (croup?!).
Once the horse is working correctly from behind, and is moving on the bit, introduce lots of school figures in to your work out. Fromt he word go. Make it a challenge to yourself not to do a round of 'whole school' throughout your training session.
These things take time to build up on, and I would start off with bigger figures, and introduce smaller figures over time, that way you don't exhaust your horse, pull any muscles or unbalance him making him unsure of himself.
figures of eight
changing the rein through half the school
changing the rein through the length of the school
one loop serpentines
three loop serpentines
four loop serpentines
Work on those first before introducing
10 m sitting trot circles (providing you have a stable sitting trot as it will help balance the horse)
turns out of the corner
10m figure of eights
changes through the circle
one loop serpentine, at X 10m circle in opposite direction
3 loop serpentine with 10m circle in each loop.
Just think when you ride these you have to ride them CORRECTLY. Riding on the correct bend, using your inside leg to help encourage the bananna shape of him and to get him off your hands. In your serpentines you should change your bend over X, and when changing out of the corner on say.. the left rein, ride with the left bend two strides before you get to E/B change the bend to the inside.
And yes, you can be greedy, but I'm not 100% on these as I was only teaching Duffy myself and have only really ridden horses that know how.
First things first, you need to make your horse sensitive to your legs. After a good work out, and cooling down, take your feet out of your stirrups, and ask the horse to shift over with just your outside leg- so long as they move off that leg it doesn't matter how. Make sure your other leg is applying no pressure what so ever.
For shoulder in, I would only use this when your sitting trot and your suppleness is 100% ;) You need to be able to drive your horse forwards with seat, and be able to use your seat bones effectively. I don't mean jiggling around in the saddle though! Shoulder in, come out of the corner, riding deep in to it, and use the momentum out of that corner to ask your horse to bend around your inside leg, continuing with your half halts outside, sit to the inside but also have weight in your outisde stirrup/ seat bone to prevent the horse turning in. Bringing your inside hand ACROSS your inside leg (not in to your body) may also help the horse to get the 'idea' however should be used sparingly as you don't want the horse to fall on the inside shoulder. Also, you need to give impulsion with the inside leg to push the horse on and straight.
Leg yielding I am pretty rubbish with. My trainer had me coming off the wall at A/C to the circle point, weight inside leg, outside leg back and short, contact with the inside rein, light half halts outside so they don't turn in on themselves. We, however, didn't get very far, because Duffy liked to sit like a blinking dog. No joke. I will however, discuss with my trainer next week and see if she has any tips ;)