Flexion exercise for your horse

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Wondering what flexion is and how to achieve it with you horse? To help you get a feeling for what flexion is, try the following exercise.

You can do it in halt, or, if your horse is better on the move, then quietly walk around the arena on a light but equal contact. 

This exercise isn't about getting your horse 'on the bit', but it will give you greater submission and aid self-carriage.

How to ride the exercise 

  • There should be a straight line from your horse's mouth, along the reins through your hands to your elbows.
     
  • Maintain a contact, with your thumbs pointing towards his bit, and your hands should be a fist height off your horse's neck.
     
  • Be aware of your own body position from left to right and front to back. Think of yourself as a Lego man with a stalk on your bottom that plugs into a hole in your saddle - keep this as the basis of your position. 
     
  • In halt, with your horse's head and neck straight in front of you, imagine a line drawn from each side of his shoulder forward to either side of his head, like a corridor. 
     
  • Ask your horse to gently turn his head to the left until his nose touches your imaginary corridor line to the left. A good gauge of how far to go when flexing is so see that it produces a small gap between the left rein and your horse's neck, and the right rein should touch the neck. 
     
  • Repeat to the right.