The Joys and frustrations of Lateral Work

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Why would you want to go sideways?

So often I find riders daunted, confused or frustrated by lateral work. They find things are not going exactly as they planned.

Whether it is leg yield, turn on the forehand, shoulder fore, shoulder in, travers, renvers, half pass or pirouettes; at some point the horse or rider often seems to hit a block in the training.

So why do lateral work anyway? What are the benefits for your horse? I will discuss this in the next parts of the series.

At some stage you will need your horse to step sideways, whether it’s to move over in the stable or to open a gate while trail riding. Or you will want your horse to learn the basic or advanced dressage movements.

What are your experiences trying lateral movements? Is it something that you haven’t tried because it makes you worried or you are not sure what you are doing? Let me know your thoughts.

My experience of learning laterals

So many years ago when I started on my lateral work, I was so excited. At last I was going to be doing fancy stuff and going sideways.

At last I was going to become the dressage diva I dreamt of becoming!

Well that was short lived as I struggled to actually achieve what I was supposed to be doing. The more the lateral work didn’t happen the more desperate I became.

Shoving with my seat clamping my leg on while taking the other off, kicking and resorting to spurs. None of this was beautiful as I hoped it would be and as the coach also got frustrated with me it was depressing to say the least!

Luckily I was introduced to biomechanics of the rider with Mary Wanless and RWYM where I learnt to control my body and balance, plus the past 6yrs has been endless research on the biomechanics of the horse, so the two can be blended together. To be continued…

Part 2 in this Lateral Series coming soon.