Lateral Movements


Flexibility of the Spinal Column

The spinal column is of utmost importance in the training.  It is very important to flex the spinal column in order to create suppleness and at the same time strength so the horse can bear the weight of the rider.  Like a ballet dancer the horse must be both supple and strong to execute movements effortlessly.  Lateral movements are what supple the spinal column.  The most basic lateral movement is the shoulder-in which is the basis for all of the other lateral movements.

Executing lateral movements correctly is very important in suppling the spine.  The head and neck position is very important during theses lateral exercises.   If there is an incurvation of the neck or a trailing croup it will create disharmony of the hind legs with the forehand. It is also important to make sure the horse has his weight distributed evenly on all four legs.  If done incorrectly the lateral movements can makes the horse stiff and rigid instead of the desired effect.  Also the rider must be more concerned with the outside rein to counterbalance the effect of the inside rein.

Below is a photo of a Lusitano doing a pirouette to the left at the walk.

Lusitano doing a pirouette at the walk

The photo below is a canter pirouette to the right.

Noah, a lesson horse, in canter pirouette

Noah, a lesson horse, in canter pirouette

 Louie, a former racetrack Arabian learns to pirouette.

Rocky, a Lusitano/Arab learning to go from a shoulder-in to a haunches-in.