Piggy French explains how to ride a three-loop serpentine

Whether you're a regular competitor in the dressage arena, or school regularly at home, being able to ride accurate school movements will help your horse become more supple and improve his overall way of going.

Here, event rider Piggy French explains how to accurately ride a three-loop serpentine. 

"First things first, to ride any school movement accurately takes practise," explains Piggy. "Although it's great to ride your horse in a big arena or open field, when it comes to riding good circles and other movements, it's important to take the time to mark out an arena-sized space to school in so that you're riding accurately.

"With practise, you'll find your riding confidence will grow and you'll soon be riding all these commonly used school movements with relaxation and confidence. This will transfer to competition and you'll ride in the same relaxed manner because you'll have the confidence to ride each movement with accuracy and ease." 

Exercise: Three-loop serpentine

This movement is a series of loops ridden down the full length of your arena. You'll find serpentines in quite a few dressage tests. 

They may look simple but it takes good coordination from you and your horse to ride this movement well. 

How to ride it

  • On the right rein, in trot, begin your serpentine at C
  • Maintain right bend as you ride your first loop across the middle of your school, midway between M and B. 
  • As you cross the centre line, change to left bend and start to ride your second loop, which just touches the track at E.
  • Continue on your left-handed curve, changing your bend to the right as you pass over the centre line.
  • Keep the right bend as you complete your third loop and finish the movement as you pass A. 

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