Ride the Horse Straight. How Hard Can it Be?

Ride the horse straight. Going down the long side with a wall on one side it can’t be that difficult. Right? Well, I find it is not so easy. I can stay on a straight line. That part is ok. But the tricky part is that the body of the horse must be straight. No hindquarters coming in off the track, no shoulders and neck coming in either. Straight!

For me the problem is Biasini likes to travel with his hindquarters in a bit. Just a little bit but if you train with a coach like Belinda Trussell then even a little bit is toooooo much! There are mirrors at the end of the arena and Belinda encourages me to look and see that Biasini is not straight. In a lesson last week I finally got him straight when Belinda told me to “think” the hindquarters out to the wall.  It worked. I just need to remember to do that all the time!

This week we have been working on leg yielding in canter. This means I must have Biasini straight when we leg yield sideways: not shoulder leading and not hindquarters leading.  Here is a short video to show you some of the work we have been doing. I think that for me the most important moment in this video is when Belinda says:  “Think of the power he’s going to have when you have two hind legs pushing equally into the front legs.”

That power is the key of course. That is how we will  get the cadence (air time) and the nice jump in the canter with the shoulders up stride after stride. Riding the horse straight may not be so easy, at least not for me, but it is a necessary step in our training.

16 Comments Add yours

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks for rebloging this post Danny!

      Like

  1. Tonia says:

    I work on this a lot as well. Clay (even though he is built like a box) can be surprisingly wiggly. Notably, when I ask for the canter from a walk, that little booty wants to swing to the inside. Martin Kuhn explained it to me like this: The hindquarters on most horses are wider than their shoulders, so of course they want to ride along the wall with their haunches just slightly to the inside.

    He told me to always give my horse a little room along the wall (you can always leg-yield a step or two out in the corners), or ride the second track (the spot you put the horse’s shoulders in a shoulder-in) instead of right against the wall. This helps convince the horse that they have enough room for their body to be straight. It also acts as a test to see if you can ride straight without the wall right next to you acting as a magnet, or as a stencil, so to speak. This has been a very helpful little strategy for me!

    Veeeeery straight leg-yields also help a lot, like you demonstrated. We do ours at the trot and then ask for the canter when we meet the wall and the booty is nicely in-line for a nice straight canter depart. Martin is also a fan of a small volte at the trot and then the canter depart on the second half of the volte.

    He also has had us canter along the wall and then move just to the second track, then back to the wall, then back out to the second track, then back to the wall just before the corner. This exercise helped keep the hind legs underneath us, and convinced Clay that I could reposition him at the canter without him losing his balance (in addition to wanting to fall to the inside with his hind end in true-canter, he also wants to be on the forehand in counter-canter. This exercise helps with both issues.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks for this detailed comment. It is nice to hear about what you’re doing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. iScriblr says:

    I am learning so much about the horses and “thinking” from your posts! Thank you and Biasini!❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you! I am so glad you are getting something from the posts.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is so true how sensitive horses are to what we think. During my riding years they responded quickly to thoughts alone on the gallops – and Biasini is so very bright! 🙂💖🐎 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Exactly! Sometimes we underestimate them. Thanks for this comment. I have a vision of you now on the gallops!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lignum Draco says:

    Precision and power. Easy to say, difficult to achieve. You’re both doing great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes precision and power! You are so right. Thank you for this comment I appreciate it.

      Like

  5. Juli Hoffman says:

    Oh, I LOVE that line: “Think of the power he’s going to have when you have two hind legs pushing equally into the front legs.” Yes!!!! Going straight is NOT easy, not at all! You two look beautiful together, BTW. Great video!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      thank you Juli! I appreciate your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Alli Farkas says:

    Arrrrgghhh! My mare loves to swing her haunches to the inside, mainly at the canter. She’s only sensitive on the rare occasions when she gets around to it. Trainer says when the horse is through the horse will be straight. Sounds like kind of a “chicken or egg” situation to me😑. We carry on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Ah Ha! Yes the getting the horse “through” quest that we all are on. Carry on, onwards, ever onwards!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Karen M says:

    Getting the horse’s body straight is truly a challenge! I must try the “thinking” straight idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Biasini is a very sensitive horse and I have to scale back my aids so the “think^ often works with him. Do give it a try!

      Like

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