The basic work on the flat

The preparatory stage of training aims to prepare the horse to the next advanced work on the flat.

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The preparatory training aims to produce a horse who:
- Has fine, regular and unhurried gaits
- Is calm, relaxed and obedient to the aids of the rider
- Shows a good natural outline, balance and rhythm
- Moves freely forward, without collection, but with active hindquarters
- Accepts the bit willingly, without tension or resistance
- Remains straight when moving on straight lines and bent correctly when moving on curved lines
- Executes transition smoothly and remains still when halted
- Is a pleasure to ride in the school and out of doors

The work should include the work on the flat, gymnastic jumping exercises, riding out, including hill work.

It’s best to start at the rising trot on the horse’s easier rein and then to change to the more difficult rein.
The first part of the work is aimed at loosening up and relaxing the horse by working him down. All the work should be on both reins and approximately equal time should be spent on each rein. Frequent rest periods at the walk on a long rein are needed, and it is wise to finish on a good note performing a movement that the horse can do well.
When the horse trots with lively steps and a relaxed, swinging back he should begin to present a degree of roundness in his outline, with the poll at the highest point of his neck. When he has reached this stage he is ready for the sitting trot.
From this early stage of training it is important to get into the discipline of executing accurate figures. The circles should be round, the straight line straight, the horse should move on with impulsion, rhythm, correct bend and the willingness to go forward.