Extended trot is when the horse is at the full length of his stride, covering as much ground as possible. While maintaining cadence, the horse’s frame will lengthen with his weight being taken back onto the quarters while his forehand lifts. It should feel like a surge of power, but with the horse remaining light in your hand.Read More
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We know Your Horse readers are busy people with jobs to do, children to feed as well as horses to ride. Here Spencer Wilton sets out a time frame to ensure that you can fit your schooling session neatly into 35 minutes!
Five minute walk
The most important thing to remember in winter is that if your horse has been out at grass in the cold weather, or stuck in his stable all day, it’s really important to do at least five minutes of walking before you get going. If you’re short of time this can be difficult but it’s really important to ensure your horse is given this time in walk to loosen up.
Five minute warm up
I like to follow a fairly set pattern when I begin my warm up:
- In trot, go large and ride
a circuit of the school or schooling area once on each rein. Allow your horse to stretch down and round
- Ride a couple of large circles on both reins in trot
- Go large again and move forward to canter, riding one circuit of the school
on each rein
- Stay in canter and ride a couple more large circles on both reins
- To complete the warm up, come back to walk and allow your horse to walk, nice and relaxed, on a long rein
15 minutes of exercises
It might not seem like a lot but plan which exercises you want to use from day to day and this 15-minute slot can be used to its
Five minute wind down
Using similar shapes to those you rode in your warm up, work in trot and give your horse a chance
to relax and wind down. Stay in an underpowered trot, especially if your horse has become tense during the session
Five minute walk
With your exercises and wind down complete, let your horse stretch in walk before you finish
Many riders concentrate on developing their own core strength, but you should also do the same for your horse, as strengthening his core will make it easier for him to transfer the weight from his front end to his hindquarters. By engaging the hind end, the front end will lift and feel lighter, and exercises should start to feel easier for your horse.Read More
Riding good quality simple changes in canter (canter, walk a few steps, canter again) will encourage your horse to collect and improve his engagement. There are three parts to a simple change. In this article we tell you what they are and how to ride them.Read More
Incorporating schooling exercises into your hack is a great way to get your horse concentrating on you, rather than looking for things to spook at. Try to have a schooling plan in mind and work on getting your horse to listen to your aids making sure you're clear about what you want to achieve. Most importantly, don't get so caught up concentrating on practising shoulder-in past a hedge that you forget to listen out for passing cars and cyclists!Read More
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Shoulder-in is a valuable tool for suppling your horse and keeping him fit for his job, but it’s easy to forget how to do it. That’s why we’ve created this simple guide to give you a quick re-cap.
Shoulder-in is a useful lateral exercise that’s ridden on three tracks – this means that his inside hind will be in line with his outside fore (a diagonal pair). His outside hind and inside foreleg (another diagonal pair) move in their own line.
As your horse moves forwards, he bends slightly around your inside leg to bring his near fore onto the inner track.
The horse’s inside foreleg passes in front of the outside fore, while the inside hind steps underneath the horse’s body, in front of the outside hind. His inside hip should lower as he brings his leg underneath.
Shoulder-in helps supple the horse and enables the rider to take control of the forehand. It requires a degree of collection so you and your horse need to be able to understand the aids for half-halt.
A lesser angle of shoulder-in is known as ‘shoulder-fore’. Shoulder-fore can be used in counter-canter, by bringing the horse onto an inside track and asking for slight flexion over the leading outside canter leg and shoulder, so the horse remains balanced.
It helps the rider control the forehand and is used to help straightness in the horse.
How to ride shoulder-in
In walk first, turn to ride a 10-metre circle at the start of the long side of the school.
As you turn onto the start of the circle, maintain your slight bend and flexion to the inside but move your horse sideways with your inside leg. Keep your upper body turned to the inside of the school and drop your weight down through your hip and into your inside leg and foot. Your horse should now be on three tracks.
Maintaining the impulsion, ride forwards. Keep your inside leg on the girth to create the inside bend and impulsion. Position your outside leg slightly behind the girth and let your outside rein control the angle.
To start with, ride only a few steps of shoulder-in, then ride straight. Don’t let your horse’s position drift or wobble back into a straight line. You may need to ride some half-halts before asking for shoulder-in, to balance and prepare your horse.
Common faults of shoulder-in are the horse over-bending around the inside leg, only bending in the neck, pushing the hindquarters out and resisting. In a good shoulder-in you should feel your horse’s hindquarters and back swinging and inside hip drop as he brings his inside leg underneath his body.
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