Work on suppleness
There are meny different ways to design a good program for the warm-up of the horse.
- #warm up
Allowing the horse to gradually and completely take the reins out of the rider’s hands is part of the suppling work and is also needed as proof of suppleness.
In the process, the horse should stretch forward and downward into the hand. The contact on the reins is maintained. To ride a horse correctly forward and downward is one of the most difficult things to accomplish in riding. While being ridden forward and downward, the horse should push off energetically with both hind legs. The back is increasingly arched, and the neck is stretched from the withers forward and downward. The spine stretches and rounds and the muscles of the neck and back have to work into becoming longer.
How far down should a rider stretch the horses’ head and back? Basically it depends on the situation and the level of training. There are many different way to design a good programm for the warm-up of the horse. It should always be adjusted individually to the horse, the rider and the current level of training of the horse. The basic principle is how to feel yourself deeper into your horse and to find your own suppling program. Some horses will relax better on the lunge, others at the rising trot, while some respond better to the canter instead of the trot, some you can supple through hal-halts, change of pace and gait, some require forward canter around a gallopping track, some like work over cavalletti, gymnastic jumping… With all these possible variations, it’s important to observe that the basic requirements remain the same-stepping to the bit from behind and inter-playing the driving and restraining aids, all of which enable the swinging of the horse’s back.