Archive for September, 2011

On Straightness – Excerpts from Book Four

In order to develop straightness your horse must be supple and have throughness.  In order to ride your horse to straightness he must first be able to bend.  He must be able to balance off the inside shoulder and have suppleness on both sides of his shoulders.  Straightness down the center line begins at Intro and follow you and your horse all the way to Grand Prix, along with straightness across the diagonals.  Your horse must also be straight on all straight lines and bent on all bent lines.  He must be able to walk, trot, and canter in shoulder fore before he is able to travel straight.  Shoulder fore is a fundamental foundation exercise, there are no short cuts.  If you have neglected this work or your horse has lost this work you need to go back and re-establish your straightness through shoulder fore.   Thereafter, you must ride stride after stride with the thought of maintaining your horse’s balance by being aware of the inside of your horse as to whether he is straight or out of balance on an inside shoulder or falling out through the outside shoulder.  A horse will fall out of straightness by leaning on the inside shoulder or the outside shoulder.  It is your job as a rider to maintain your horses straightness by your constant awareness of the outside and inside of your horse.  Shoulder fore is easily ridden by a slight roll of the thigh against the shoulder to ask the horse to yield off the inside shoulder.  Later a quick touch of the inside thigh will remind the horse to maintain his straightness.  He will always need you to be there for this elegant balance.

More on straightness in Book Four.

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