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Lateral Work to Straighten and Strengthen
Lateral work will strengthen and allow engagement of your horse’s core muscles, encourage suppleness and bend through the body and promote bending of the joints of the hind leg. As the hind leg moves forward it steps to the center of balance and under the rider’s seat, creating over time an uphill, light-in-hand and balanced way of going. Bend and lateral work are woven together. Leg-yielding is not actually part of lateral work as there is no bend of the body involved. But leg yield does involve flexion and moving the ribs so it is a valuable stepping stone towards lateral work for both horse and rider.
My experience of learning laterals
Over time I have realised there is so many elements to doing Lateral work well, (1) There is my own responsibility of my body awareness and how it can effect the balance and flow of the horse. (2) The aides, are they clear to the horse and now years on, I fully understand how to use them. (3) The horses balance (4) The horses understanding of what is required. (5) building co ordination of both horse and the rider.
Part 3 in this Lateral Series coming soon.