Lateral Horse Movements

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   LATERAL/FORWARD MOVEMENTS
TWO TRACK, LEG YIELD, AND HALF PASS

(adapted from 101 Arena Exercises and Arena Pocket Guides
as appeared in Horse & Rider magazine )

  1999 Cherry Hill
      www.horsekeeping.com

  In lateral/forward work, the horse moves sideways and forward at the same time.  When moving to the right, the horse is moving in response to the sideways driving aids from the rider's left leg.  Lateral exercises supple a horse and strengthen him so he can be ridden in balance in any maneuver at any gait.  Lateral/forward work contains varying degrees of lateral flexion, lateral bend, sideways movement and forward movement.  Lateral flexion occurs at the poll/throatlatch area.  Lateral bend occurs from head to tail along the horse's entire spine.  The horse remains parallel to the arena rails.

    In the most elementary of these 3 movements, the two track, the horse is bent away from the direction of movement.  He has the most lateral flexion and bend and shows more sideways than forward movement.  Because the horse is counterflexed, it is easy for the horse to cross over and move sideways.   Common problems are overbending, shoulder bulge, losing balance and rhythm, rushing, excessive lowering of the head and balking.

     In the leg yield, the horse has a small degree of lateral flexion away from the direction of movement, no lateral bend, and about equal sideways and forward movement.  In a leg yield to the right, the horse is flexed very slightly to the left, the body is straight, and the horse is moving to the right away from the rider's left leg.  The horse's left legs cross over the right legs.  The forehand is very slightly in advance of the hindquarters.  This is an intermediate stage on the way to a half pass.

     In the most advanced of these movements, the half pass, the horse is flexed and bent into the direction of movement.  In a half pass right, there is pronounced lateral flexion and bend around the rider's right leg and a great degree of sideways and forward movement; the half pass is more forward than sideways.  The horse's shoulders are slightly in advance of the hindquarters.   Common rider errors are weighting the left seat bone and heel and trying to push the horse over to the right and overbending to the right by letting the right hand cross over the mane to the left.  If the horse is not bent around your right leg, you are basically performing an incorrect version of leg yield.

  2004 Cherry Hill

 

 

 

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