Alice Op­pen­heimer on lat­eral work

Lat­eral ex­er­cises to im­prove the horse’s strength and sup­ple­ness

Horse & Hound - - Letters -


LAT­ERAL work is great for im­prov­ing the horse’s sup­ple­ness and straight­ness. Ev­ery horse is more sup­ple one way than the other by na­ture, so we use lat­eral work to even them up on both reins.

As soon as my young horses have learnt the ba­sic aids, we start to in­tro­duce leg-yield­ing, so they learn to ac­cept the leg and move side­ways off it. We then build them up into grand prix horses who can do steep half-passes.

Shoul­der-in is a good strength­en­ing ex­er­cise be­cause the horse has to step the hind­leg un­der the line of their body and take more weight be­hind.

Leg-yield is good for horses who fall side­ways, in­stead of step­ping side­ways, due to hav­ing too much bend in the neck.

Lat­eral work is some­thing peo­ple can do out hack­ing as well as in the arena.


1 Start by rid­ing up the cen­tre line or, to make it slightly eas­ier, the three-quar­ter line (as the horse has the fence line to fol­low), mak­ing sure the horse is straight be­tween two reins. You should be able to ride down the cen­tre- or three-quar­ter line straight, with­out the horse drift­ing out through a shoul­der.

2 Then put your inside leg on the girth and ask the horse to move side­ways for a few steps. As soon as you feel the horse start­ing to fall side­ways, ask the horse to do a few straight strides by us­ing a lit­tle out­side leg to straighten him up, and then ask him to go for­wards straight. Once they are straight and be­tween two reins again, ask for a few more side­ways steps.

3 Next, turn up the three­quar­ter line and ride shoul­der-in. Rid­ing shoul­der-in off the track not only en­sures your horse is be­tween two reins, but can also be eas­ier for the horse be­cause, on the track, he nat­u­rally sticks to the fence. 4 Achieve the cor­rect shoul­der-in an­gle by us­ing the inside leg and out­side rein, rather than us­ing too much inside rein. If you use too much inside rein, you will have too much inside bend and the horse will fall out through the shoul­der.

‘Lat­eral work is some­thing peo­ple can do out hack­ing as well as in the arena’

Alice Op­pen­heimer breeds, trains and com­petes at in­ter­na­tional level from her base at Head­more Stud

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.