Charlotte uses lots of different lateral work exercises, even with young horses, to improve suppleness. All lateral work has to stay in a regular rhythm – it shouldn’t slow down just because you’re going sideways.
“The aim of this movement is for your horse to push up and over and not just fall through the shoulder,” Charlotte says. “I see lots of riders ride leg-yield with too much neck bend, which simply makes your horse fall out through his shoulder. You want only
a small amount of flexion and just be able to see the corner of his inside eye.”
Riding shoulder-in will help your horse take more weight behind and carry himself. “It’s a common mistake to create too much neck bend and push your horse’s quarters out rather than bringing his shoulders in,” says Charlotte. “Teaching your horse shoulder-in off the track of the school is a good habit to get into, and will help you ride this movement more accurately.”
“Your horse will be bent through his body and neck in this movement, so it improves suppleness,” says Charlotte. Correct positioning is essential for you to feel the benefit: remember, your horse’s quarters will move to the inside while his shoulders should follow the line of the track you’re travelling along.
Charlotte’s top tips:
I don’t sit to the trot on my four and five year olds. I just keep rising trot, to encourage him to stay loose and elastic in their body. They’re not strong enough in their backs to cope with you sitting and it will only cause them to become tight in their back and neck.
All my horses hack out regularly. I don’t want them working in the school all the time and this helps them mentally, and is great form of education too.
Daily turnout is so important to help keep your horse happy and healthy.
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