Exercises for Building Lateral Strength and Balance

These exercises work on movements in bending on a straight line and counter-bend which is a preparation for lateral work. Lateral movements are introduced at the Preliminary (Canter between obstacles level) with the side pass over pole obstacle, as well building into a laterally balanced turn outside the Stock Pen.

We have devised 3 parts to this challenge so you can start at any part, and go as far as you feel ready to do with your horse.

Part 2 and 3 exercises are available in a pdf download here.

Part 1 – Bending on a straight line.

LEFT BEND ON A STRAIGHT LINE

Walk down the edge of the wall (or poles used to create an edge) bending to the left in Shoulder fore (right fore between hind leg tracks) or Shoulder In (3 tracks with right fore on same track as left hind).

RIGHT BEND ON A STRAIGHT LINE

Walk up the edge of the wall bending to the right in Shoulder fore (left fore between hind leg tracks) or Shoulder In (3 tracks with left fore on same track as right hind).

The aim of this exercise is to develop consistent footfalls within tracks of the Shoulder Fore or Shoulder In movement. Starting with a few steps and building up the number of quality steps over time.

If you would like to film it we would love to see your video posted to our Virtual Working Equitation Competitors group on Facebook. **To join the group our policy is to submit a video either via a competition entry or one of our training exercises – please email entries@virtualworkingequitation.com with your name, horses name, and a short introduction to submit your first video.


Bending on a Straight Line – Shoulder Fore and Shoulder In.

Part 2 – Figure 8 with Counterbend

FIGURE 8 LEFT BEND ONLY FOR BOTH CIRCLES AT WALK

Ride the left circle first with the horse bending to the inside of the circle. On changing direction stay in left bend (counterbend) and ride the right circle.

THEN FIGURE 8 RIGHT BEND ONLY FOR BOTH CIRCLES AT WALK

Ride the right circle first with the horse bending to the inside of the circle. On changing direction stay in right bend (counterbend) and ride the left circle.

A pdf download of this exercise is available here.

Part 3 – Slalom with Counterbend

Slalom markers are 7 – 10 m apart depending on the space you have or the level of challenge you need (minimum distance for more difficulty).

LEFT BEND ONLY SLALOM AT WALK

Enter the Slalom bending left around the first marker. Continue in left bend making a Shoulder Out movement across the diagonal to the next marker. Counterbend around the second marker. Continue across the diagonal with a Shoulder In movement to the next marker. Bend around the next marker with inside bend. Continue in this pattern through the rest of the slalom markers.

RIGHT BEND ONLY SLALOM AT WALK

Enter the Slalom bending right around the first marker. Continue in right bend with a Shoulder Out movement across the diagonal, then counterbend around the next marker. Continue across the diagonal with a Shoulder In movement across the diagonal to the next marker. Bend around the next marker with inside bend. Continue in this pattern through the rest of the slalom markers.

A pdf download of this exercise is available here.

Ridden Example – Part 3

Example of riding Part 3 – Slalom keeping a right bend only.

Sequence for Straightness, Figure 8, Halt

This is an exercise to work on straightness, the figure 8 circles, and halt. All you need is two barrels or markers to make a Figure 8 obstacle.

Set two barrels or markers 4m apart at the center of the arena.

If you would like to film it we would love to see your video posted to our Virtual Working Equitation Competitors group on Facebook. **To join the group our policy is to submit a video either via a competition entry or one of our training exercises – please email entries@virtualworkingequitation.com with your name, horses name, and a short introduction to submit your first video.


Place the camera on the short side of your space (at C if you have an arena).

Try riding this first at walk and then when you are ready, do the exercise again at trot.

Ride a straight line down the centre for 10m.

Ride a right circle bending around the marker. Make your circle as big as needed for your horse to do it well and stay in balance.

Ride a left circle bending around the marker. Keep the circle the same size as your previous circle.

Continue straight for 10m.

Halt and salute.

Straightness, Figure 8, Halt