In a recent post I talked about getting it on the ground. The ‘it’ can be many things, such as moving forward, softness, backing and lateral movement. Now I want to talk about a few more specifics.
The photo above is of Newton, a 6 year old OTTB who has struggled turning right correctly. I am asking him to bend clear through his body. I want him to step under with his inside hind foot and to turn his head at the poll or as I like to say, look around the corner. He is also lowering his head and is stretching through his back. This gymnastic exercise is done both directions and is interspersed with other exercises moving both hind and fore quarters independently.
Done before the rider gets on, the horse gets both a physical and mental warm-up. Both horse and rider get an idea of how it should look and feel from the ground where it is easier to achieve clarity. This will translate directly into the saddle. On the ground the horse is unencumbered by the weight of the rider and has only his own body to work with. The rider can see what the correct posture and movement looks like and can use this visualization while riding.
This is an ongoing process that takes time and some days are going to be better than others. Patience and persistence are necessary as well as getting it correct before moving on.
Thank you for reading