Inside? Outside? Which side? Which way?

The age old advice in riding a dressage horse is to ride from the inside leg to the outside rein. That is easy going around the outside of the arena; the outside is nearest to the wall or the arena railing. On a circle you can still know where the outside is fairly easily. But what about the sideways movements? Ah…there’s the rub. Here is what my Florida coach Lou Denizard has to say about it.

“The 2nd level test is where the confusion sets in. This is the beginning of collection and the requirement for ‘bend’. I sometimes call it the “Dyslexic Period” and trainers have to help their students with references to left or right not just inside or outside. The renvers movement is introduced at this level. In renvers the outside of the arena becomes the inside of the bend.”

Here is a diagram that shows what is required in the renvers movement.

In this movement you are not just riding inside leg to outside rein. Now which way is the outside? Which way is the inside? Which side is which? I really struggled with the renvers. What does Lou say to his students if they are struggling?

” I stop and ask them how they would like it handled; do they want instructions as “right” “left” or ” the driveway side of the arena” or “the house side of the arena.” I also like to break it down as to what the legs and hands are doing. Two legs move the horse forward and one leg moves the horse sideways. And the legs have to have an interchanging quality, the ability to be strong one leg more than the other or both to push the horse forward. It’s important that the rider keeps both legs ‘on’ the horse and doesn’t allow the pushing with one leg to allow the other leg to come away from the horse’s side. I tell students they are ‘peeing on the hydrant’when I see one leg has come away from the horse’s side.”

I can tell you that he has said that to me. Often!

As the rider moves up the levels the inside outside dilemma does not get any easier.

PIROUTTES. Now the rider is asking for the canter to go up not out. The Inside leg = bend . Outside leg =getting the strides around.  Horse falls in and spins? Inside leg must stop the spin, outside rein helps. Horse is getting stuck? Both legs on to move out more or up more .

HALF PASS. The riders’ outside leg =  sideways movement .Inside leg = bend and forward. But ….quarters leading? Less outside leg and more inside leg. Shoulders leading? More outside leg…..but….keep inside leg because inside leg keeps the horse’s shoulder up. Are you still with me?Believe me when I tell you that to achieve a half pass with movement like the horse shown below the rider is skillfully juggling both legs and both reins for Every Single Step.

SHOULDER IN. This movement: horse’s body straighter, shoulders come away from outside wall,. Forward and sideways simultaneously!

Here is a short video of Biasini and me in a lesson with Lou. The exercises in canter work on being straight ( leg yield) to bend ( half pass) and back to straight( leg yield). The references by Lou to renvers are not to actually ride a renvers but to ‘think’ I am preparing for renvers in the corners before riding Biasini into leg yield. Keeping him to the outside to be straight!

So there you have it. Inside? Outside? Which side? Which way?

Confused? You are not alone! Dressage is a sport that requires a very active brain and body. And…I think this post is a great response to theWhich Way photo challenge for January 17.

23 Comments Add yours

  1. I always struggled with getting the correct bend during half passes. My brain feels tired just thinking about it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are not alone! Thanks for commenting Gayle.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. David says:

    When I read “two legs move the horse forward, one leg moves the horse sideways”, I assumed you were talking about the horse and not the rider. 🙂 The renvers, if I understand correctly, is inverting outside and inside.

    May I ask, how often do you show in Florida each winter? I know you take plenty of instruction with your Florida coach, then take it home for your own training. I assume the Florida show experience adds to your knowledge base on training and additional shows back home.

    From the video. I liked how Lou’s voice carried in the practice ring. The one thing I learned is how well sound carries in the practice and show arenas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      The two legs forward one leg sideways almost makes it seem like the rider has three legs 😆but they are working I independently as needed. I do show in Florida. I hope to be doing three shows this winter season. Lou has a mic system and I have an earphone in my ear. My husband did the video and he stood beside Lou so he could pick up everything he was saying. Thanks so much for this comment David. I know you have experience with horses and riding and competing so your thoughts are much appreciated.

      Like

  3. Tina Schell says:

    I had absolutely no idea about all this Anne. I have a new respect for my granddaughter’s efforts! And BTW I bought her first pair of tall riding boots for Xmas. It may be the most excited I’ve ever seen her 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Tall boots! I bet she was thrilled. Thanks for taking the time to read through this post Tina and I like hearing about your granddaughter and her riding journey.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Amy says:

    It’s so complicated for the trainer… horses are so smart! I saw a horse show in Spain a few years ago, it was remarkable.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amy says:

    It’s so complicated for the trainer… horses are so smart! I saw a horse show in Spain a few years ago, it was remarkable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Horses are smart but most of them want to do what the rider is asking we just need to be clear in how we ask. Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Emma Cownie says:

    I struggle with left and right at the best of times, this just had my head in knots!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I understand that Emma. It is a lot going on all at once. But as you move up the levels in dressage it builds so that things become spontaneous and you are not having to think about each and every thing every second. For an older rider like myself however it is still daunting. I always know I need to be quicker. I imagine it is somewhat the same for you as an artist in that there are many techniques you have in your repertoire that you do not have to think about too much ad they are just there and in place but perhaps others need more thought. Only difference is you can step back and take a look at how it’s going . Thanks for your sympathetic comment

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Emma Cownie says:

        Yes, a lot of what I do is instinctive as I have it over and over again. Thankfully, it does involve left and right!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. cagedunn says:

    How about ‘on’ side and ‘off’ side? When I helped kids learn, I told them, ‘You get on the horse on the ‘on’ side, and the other side, because it’s not the on-side, is the off-side!’ did it make it any easier? Not always, but the chaos could also be fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      That is a terrific suggestion Cage. I will pass that on to my coach Lou Denizard and I bet he will like it too. It is a great idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ha! These are great! And yes, I am a bit confused. I live in horse country, but I’m woefully ignorant about them. Thanks a bunch for joining in. 😃😃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I was writing the post and then took a break and saw your Which Way and I thought Hey! My post is a sort of which way. And it is confusing even to those who so ride. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. sandyjwhite says:

    For a gal who can confuse her own right and left leg, this would be impossible!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Sandy I have left right confusion myself so I struggle as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. sandyjwhite says:

        Makes me admire all the more what you are able to accomplish as a rider!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Emma says:

    i love how happy Biasini looks in his work! oh, and your boots. yes i also love those boots lol. i can’t wait for the day my horse can counter canter like that too, tho things like half pass and renvers are, uh, well, not likely to happen any time soon. yet 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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