When ridden correctly, serpentines look impressive and do a lot of good for you and your horse’s training. However, various things can go awry when you’re riding a serpentine. Watch out for the following…
Rider issues HEAVY ON THE REINS
“I see many riders leaning in and collapsing through their hips as they ride a serpentine,” Alex points out. “Also, a lot of people use too much rein to change direction.” This can result in holding on to the contact too much, which leads to your horse leaning on your hands and dropping onto his forehand. You need to ride each change of bend from your legs; your rein merely indicates the direction and creates flexion.
“Lack of preparation is another issue I often see when I’m judging,” says Alex. “This results in inaccurate changes of flexion, which impacts on the whole exercise. “It also shows up inconsistencies in tempo, bend and general suppleness of both horse and rider.”
THE WRONG SHAPE
“Loops of varying sizes is something I see a lot of,” adds Alex. “This is usually caused by the rider not looking up and ahead at where they’re going, or not fully understanding how to ride this movement accurately.”
Losing rhythm/varying tempo Hollowing/coming above the bit Resisting/tightening over the back Quarters swinging/hind hooves not following the front feet.