Introduction to Lateral Work
Lateral in dressage means that the horse is going sideways and is crossing his legs. Shoulder inIt is rare to see horse doing this in the wild, except perhaps stallions when they want to impress.
As horses do not show this on the wild we can assume that they find this difficult to cross their legs. Therefore we need to introduce this concept carefully and slowly.
Initially riders will also find the coordinated aids between seat, legs and hand difficult to do.
Most riders do not have access to a schoolmaster and therefore learning lateral work is usually done by both rider AND horse. With a school master that knows the movements you only have to give the correct aids and almost like magic the horse will do the required movement.
To overcome the problem that both horse and rider need to learn what lateral work means. You need to have a picture in your mind what it looks like. I have taken the exercise back to its simplest form.
I have developed an exercise called Beginners Legyield. This is the basic lateral exercise from which all lateral work is developed.
There are many reasons why I believe that riders should learn and master Beginners Legyield first. It will make progression to Correct Legyielding, Shoulder-in, Travers, Renvers and Half Pass an almost imperceptible step.
The prerequisites for lateral work are:
- Understanding of the concept Half Halt
- Understanding of the Magic of the Outside Rein in other words understand the pushing power of the outside rein
- Understand how to control the quarters
By breaking down the components of lateral work and exercising them separately you, the rider, will learn to coordinate the aids of legs, seat and hands. While you are getting familiar with the various components of the lateral exercises the horse is made progressively more supple in the shoulders, hip joints and spine.
I think the hardest thing with lateral work is that you need to have a picture in your mind what it should look like. Thats why learning about lateral work away from the horse is helpful. Being on the horse riding and learning about the movements away from the horse are two different things.
Once you are familiar with the requirements it is less difficult to take the concept onto the horse, especially as you are able to learn this in small increments which, once put together, make the complete movement.
We also discus the concept of Explaining, Training and Confirming as training concepts all riders should know to be successful.
This extended Mini Course is supported with 13 videos. The video is important because 85 % of our learning is done with our eyes.