Level: Medium / advanced medium upwards
Aim: To increase lateral suppleness, straightness and strength of the haunches.
Degree of difficulty: For medium and adv. med. level - hard; Advanced level - fair
1. Initial walk:
- Walk on a loose rein for a period of at least 5 minutes. This is to relax both horse and rider ready for the session to come.
2. Stretching segment:
- This is a period of specifically stretching the horse down. Ask for a good, active forward walk and really drape the horse down whilst actively stepping the hind leg through and under. Move the horse around the school with frequent changes of direction. Take this through to the trot and depending on the individual horse you can include the canter.
3. Walk to a contact:
- Pick the horse up to a contact and pay good attention to the forward step, crisp reaction to the aids and the acceptance of and reaching into the contact.
4. Main content of the exercise:
- The aim is to ride 10m circles in canter with frequent transitions from and to walk.
Walk through the short side of the arena past A on the right rein. At K, start a 10m circle and simultaneously ride a walk to canter transition. As you come onto the second half of the 10m circle, collect the canter and ride a canter to walk transition at K and walk large. Repeat this exercise at all 5 markers along the long side (20m x 60m arena). After the last repetition at H, walk through the short side and ride a free walk, good stretch with forward steps to release the work load and also change the rein from M to K. Pick up to the walk as you go through the short side and then repeat the theme starting at F, walk to canter as you commence the 10m circle; collect the canter and canter to walk at F and walk large. Repeat at all of the markers down the long side.
Pay attention to detail! Look for the quality of the upwards transition, no swinging of the haunches, active forwards in good balance. Have a good degree of collection to bring the canter near to the spot and then a soft, forward canter to walk transition with an ease of flow forwards into the walk.
5. The next stage:
- After riding the exercise and looking to improve each set of transitions and circles then walk onto the centre line from A on the right rein. At D, walk to canter and commence a 10m circle to the right, collect and canter to walk at D and proceed in walk along the centre line. Change positioning and at L, walk canter and 10m circle left, collect and canter to walk. So in essence you are riding the same exercise as on the long side but this time you are alternating the direction and the strike off. You also have the added focus of the straightness to the centre line.
6. The final stage:
- Walk through the short side past A on the right rein. At K ride the walk to right canter and 10m circle, collect and canter to walk at K. Immediately ride walk shoulder-in from K to V. Then from V to G walk half pass right. At G, walk to canter right and circle right 10m, collect and canter to walk at G. At C track left.
Repeat this now on the left rein: Walk to canter from H with the 10m circle. Canter to walk at H, walk shoulder-in H to S, half pass from S to D. At D walk to left canter and 10m circle left, canter to walk at D, at A track right.
Free walk on a long rein to relax and stretch.
Then although this would be enough for a session depending on the fitness of the horse work some canter half passís or some work towards the collection in the trot.
Finish the session with a period of stretching down (warming down) in trot stretch. The warm down is a vital period of any athletes work, be they human or equine.
Walk the horse off and put away.