Monday, March 10, 2014

Exercise of the Week II

Go me for actually remembering to make this a weekly installment!! Lets see if I can keep it up for three whole weeks in a row next Monday ;)

I got a fair bit of response on my last exercise, if anyone has tried it do let me know how it went.

This week's exercise is slightly more technical but one that I think most people could use.  I've been using it tons lately to combat Mollie's desire to constantly travel with her haunches in which is SO annoying.  Especially when I think she's all straight and awesome and then I look up at the mirrors and bam.  Hind end off the rail.  Rotten horse.

We're going to start this exercise tracking right, with a slight inside bend.  As you approach the corner you are going to ride across the long diagonal in a shoulder fore to the right.  Maintain said shoulder fore all the way to the corner.

You know you missed these bad boys

Once you approach the corner you straighten out of shoulder fore, but maintain a counter bend through the short side.  Then turn early, down your quarter line.

Look at dem captions

Now down your quarter line you are going to ride the slightest of haunches out possible.  Like, just think baby haunches out right and you will feel majykal things happen beneath your saddle.  At least you will if you're on a Mollie-horse.

Now I drew her hind feet slightly haunched out, but the trick to this exercise is just barely haunching out.  Because once Mollie is in what I think is a mini haunches-out, she's actually straight.

Now that you've changed direction, just repeat!!

Hello straightness

Why this exercise works: So lots and lots of horses are crooked.  I can't even count how many times I've been to a show or watched a video and watched horses going around (especially at the canter it seems) with their haunches thrown to the inside, and their shoulders on the rail.  Most of the time people simply focus on "straightening" them out, with little regard to moving around the different parts of their body.  Simply bending their neck isn't going to help you if their haunches are out.  Now their haunches are out and they're over bent.  By isolating the different parts of their body (first shoulders, then haunches) the horse will automatically straighten without you attempting to "straighten" them.  I hope that makes sense to someone other than me.

Why I like this exercise: Because I love arguing with my horse, we frequently get into "discussions" about how straight she is.  This usually ends up in me reverting to my hands to attempt to "straighten" her.  I really should know better by now, but sometimes it happens.  If I do get myself into this battle this exercise usually helps me get out of it.  It's like I want Mollie to get into a very tight box all at once and she can't coordinate how to do it.  Instead of demanding she get all four feet in at the same time I focus her energy into getting parts of herself there and then before you know it, everything is in the box.

I hope this exercise is helpful for some, and if anyone wants an in depth lesson on some of the above movements (shoulder in, haunches in/out, etc.) please let me know!  And once again, let me know if you try it out and how it goes :)


  1. We tried the last exercise last week. Bobby didn't like how fast the changes of direction came up and it made him a little spastic.

    We'll try this exercise, too! I've been working on straightness at the canter because of the lovely haunches out drift.

    1. Haha Molls is the exact opposite. Constantly have to keep that monster guessing or she gets bored-spastic and starts making decisions. They rarely coincide with mine :) Thanks for letting me know how it went though! And have fun with this one, the drifting of the haunches has been killing me lately.

  2. I haven't gotten around to last weeks exercise. I'll have to file this one for the future.

    1. Let me know how the Rama-Llama feels about it ;)

  3. I love your writing style! :)