Boost your lateral work skills with Matt Hicks

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Whether you're a regular competitor or hack out, using lateral work is a great gymnastic exercise for your horse to stretch and strengthen muscles and improve the quality of his paces.

Lateral work is the term used to describe movements where your horse moves forwards and sideways. You can ride them in walk, trot and canter and each one involves moving either your horse's shoulders or hips off the track he's travelling on, while bending through his body. 

You don't need to be in the confines of an arena to ride these exercises, if it's safe to do so, you can practise them while you're out hacking. You can also use them to help you ride your horse past scary objects. 

Shoulder-in

This is the first lateral exercise dressage rider and trainer Matt Hicks teaches his horses. 

It's a good suppling, collecting and straightening exercise.

Watch how to ride shoulder-in correctly in the video below.

Leg-yield

This movement is when your horse moves forwards and sideways on two tracks. Watch how to ride it in the video below.

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