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Day 61 - Lateral work on the training scale

100 days

The term lateral work can scare some people because they think it's complicated but it really isn't at all. It's really just putting a few of the simple things you've learned together and moving the shoulders and hindquarters at the same time.

Over the previous few posts we've talked about controlling both the shoulders and hindquarters using the rein. The main reason for teaching this from the rein, initially, is so that we have clear and effective leg cues for lateral work.

Up until this stage, I've only used both legs together to mean 'go forward'. This is clear and simple for the horse (not to mention the rider). Now that I have relaxation, shoulder and hindquarter control, I can introduce the idea of one leg only to mean 'whole horse move sideways'. Of course, the leg is still a secondary cue and only needs to be applied if the horse misses the rein cue.

I know, this sounds really odd to those of you that have never tried it and next time I'll talk some more about how and why it leads to a lighter, more relaxed and willing equine partner. In the meantime, pop along to the free training section and check out the Hips to the Fence lesson because this is lateral work, when we teach side-pass along the fence, and it's simple and easy to do. Give it a go and you can quickly see that you don't need to push your horse over with your leg.

Let me know how you get on by leaving a comment below.