Teaching your horse lateral work isn’t always easy, but as dressage rider Alex Harrison explains, there are some simple ‘cheats’ that can help along the way.

The lateral movement travers is a bit like shoulder-in, in reverse. Your horse has to bring his hindlegs off the track as his head, neck and front legs remain on the track.

You can introduce travers at a walk, but can be performed in trot or, once your horse is strong enough, in collected canter.

The aids for travers are:

  1. Keep your inside leg at the girth.
  2. Move your outside leg back, asking your horse to move his quarters in.
  3. Turn your hips slightly to the outside.
  4. Look down the track you’re travelling on.
  5. Your inside rein creates flexion to the inside.
  6. Your outside rein balances your horse and controls the amount of flexion.

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The cheat

“A lot of the time, horses find it hard to bend in the way they’re going or bed around a rider’s leg,” says Alex. “So if you’re finding it difficult, my trick is to actually bend him to the outside because this naturally encourages him to put his quarters in and give that outside bend.

“Then, once you feel the quarters coming in, straighten his head and neck and ask for an inside bend. Just take care to ensure that he is on your outside rein too.”

Meet the expert: Alex Harrison of Collective Equestrian is a BD accredited trainer and holds his UKCC3 qualification. He is the UK’s youngest List 3A dressage judge.

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