What are your favourite straightness/suppleness exercises?

Jessey

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Niko is less able on the right rein, I'm going to have a body work person have a look at him but I'd like to try some different school exercises with him too, so fire away, diagrams, pictures and videos appreciated :D even if they are ridden ones, I can probably adapt them.
 
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Skib

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I think a lot of what a horse is able to do depends on its routine warm up history. Our RI does many exercises that help to bring the hind legs under and we are careful to do them on both reins.
Similarly when she lunges, it will be equal time on each rein.
But at most RSs I have been to, warm up means walking and then trotting a circuit or two which is not the same.
My current share finds bending hard, as hacking is mostly on the straight and being asked to bend a lot now would not be helpful for her. But I had to be told that. Otherwise I had assumed that things that were good for one horse would also be good for another.
As for handedness. Horses all have a dominant side just like we do.
At both the yards where I ride, horses have the mounting block on their left near the arena edge and tend therefore to circle away to the right on the right rein once the rider has mounted. So may be it is ordained that the right rein is easier. Just as it is for me?

Left to myself I like to ride the Branaman tear shaped exercise going large in walk. This exercises both left and right bends while traveling round the edge of the arena in either direction. Note this is a series of turns where forelegs are followed by hind legs. It is not lateral work with one leg stepping under. But as my RI would ephasise. . On any bend, the inside legs travel a sorter distance than the outside legs.
 

Jessey

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I think a lot of what a horse is able to do depends on its routine warm up history.
Niko is 3, with very little history of work, I am looking at very raw natural tendencies.
Left to myself I like to ride the Branaman tear shaped exercise going large in walk. This exercises both left and right bends while traveling round the edge of the arena in either direction. Note this is a series of turns where forelegs are followed by hind legs.
I have googled and can only find him mentioning a half circle exercise that is a hind yield followed by a fore yield. Are you talking about a reverse direction, a 5/10 meter half circle then diagonal back to the track?
 

Skib

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For a 3 year old our RI woud be far away from doing school exercises. Young horses are exercised out on the straght, hacking and presumably not as young as 3. So ignore anything I posted.

On Branamann I am no expert. Just read his book, bought his vids and went to a one day demo where @jane was too. I doubt if any horses at that clinic were young.

About the Tear drop patter - No I am not talking about a half circle or anything with proper equestrian terms. On the right rein going large, imagne a tear drop coming out from the edge in a concave curve, then a sort of normal semicircle to the right and then another concave curve back to the track. I think one could picture that as alternating semi circles. right rein, then left rein then right rein.

But not for a young horse. And I am no expert either on Brannamann or young horses. I have twice ridden a 6 year old, so know what it feels like, but that is all.
I have watched Rashid back a young pony, first with tack on and the next day with weight of a rider but like Peace, always done on a large arena and going large.

But I did take a fancy to the tear drop pattern in walk and have ridden it when left to myself with a RS horse.

One has to think out what the point of it all is. These exercises on curves and turns are designed to bring the hind legs under the horse. It is the activity of the hind legs, coming under the horse and it raising its back which is supposed to be best for the self carriage and health of the spine carrying a rider. So I can turn up at a riding lesson thinking I need to ride turns etc, only to be told that because I ride with the hind legs so active, I dont need to.
This shows partly that I have to do as any RI says, but also that the RS horses vary from rider to rider.
 

Jessey

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For a 3 year old our RI woud be far away from doing school exercises. Young horses are exercised out on the straght, hacking and presumably not as young as 3. So ignore anything I posted.

On Branamann I am no expert. Just read his book, bought his vids and went to a one day demo where @jane was too. I doubt if any horses at that clinic were young.

About the Tear drop patter - No I am not talking about a half circle or anything with proper equestrian terms. On the right rein going large, imagne a tear drop coming out from the edge in a concave curve, then a sort of normal semicircle to the right and then another concave curve back to the track. I think one could picture that as alternating semi circles. right rein, then left rein then right rein.

But not for a young horse. And I am no expert either on Brannamann or young horses. I have twice ridden a 6 year old, so know what it feels like, but that is all.
I have watched Rashid back a young pony, first with tack on and the next day with weight of a rider but like Peace, always done on a large arena and going large.

But I did take a fancy to the tear drop pattern in walk and have ridden it when left to myself with a RS horse.

One has to think out what the point of it all is. These exercises on curves and turns are designed to bring the hind legs under the horse. It is the activity of the hind legs, coming under the horse and it raising its back which is supposed to be best for the self carriage and health of the spine carrying a rider. So I can turn up at a riding lesson thinking I need to ride turns etc, only to be told that because I ride with the hind legs so active, I dont need to.
This shows partly that I have to do as any RI says, but also that the RS horses vary from rider to rider.
He’s not being ridden yet, I’m just working with him in hand lightly.
I’m still struggling to envisage what you are saying, if I’m coming along the track on right rein, at what angle do you leave the track? I was meaning this
2622EEC3-F31D-4B66-A5C9-C844F9B50AAF.jpeg
but you said not that, or similar but the straight counter bent?
 

PePo

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Have you had a look at Viscount Simon Cocozza book? I've found it really helpful in making P more symmetrical and building him back up after all his time off this winter.

I really like Straightness Training too for clear, easy exercises.
 

Jessey

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Have you had a look at Viscount Simon Cocozza book? I've found it really helpful in making P more symmetrical and building him back up after all his time off this winter.

I really like Straightness Training too for clear, easy exercises.
I have a straightness training book, but didn’t find it very easy to follow 😬 maybe I’ll read it again and see if it is easier to follow 3rd time around 😋

I’ll look up the other one too, thanks
 

Skib

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Forget it. Not suitable for a young horse and not like that, no. When Brannaman did his demo at Merrist Wood he had lots and lots of riders in a big indoor arena.. Picture them walking in prcession round the wall, going large, Then all together being asked to leave the arena wall and ride a 10 m circle back to the wall. Then replace that 10 circle with a semi circle at the outer point but concave arcs when leaving or returning to the wall.
Best thing is if I try to draw a diagram and then photo it and post it?
 

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Skib

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The red/black line is the side of the arena. The black cuved line is my not very good drawing of the route taken by the horse in what I call the tear drop pattern.
 

Jessey

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Forget it. Not suitable for a young horse and not like that, no. When Brannaman did his demo at Merrist Wood he had lots and lots of riders in a big indoor arena.. Picture them walking in prcession round the wall, going large, Then all together being asked to leave the arena wall and ride a 10 m circle back to the wall. Then replace that 10 circle with a semi circle at the outer point but concave arcs when leaving or returning to the wall.
Best thing is if I try to draw a diagram and then photo it and post it?
Ah the picture helps, I’d just call that a 10 meter serpentine 🤷🏻‍♀️
 

Skib

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Ah the picture helps, I’d just call that a 10 meter serpentine 🤷🏻‍♀️
O you are clever. But it isnt exactly what our RI teaches as a serpentine, With her the sides of a serpentine need to be straight. These Branaman onces come in to create the tear drop, almost like a pear shape.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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You could try doing the giravolta, which is where the horse walks around you with his head turned towards you, stepping stepping stepping under with his inside hind leg. Sid finds it very hard and soon grinds to a halt but Ziggy could giravolte and Charlie (who was very straight and supple) didn't even know it was supposed to be an exercise!
 
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Jessey

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O you are clever. But it isnt exactly what our RI teaches as a serpentine, With her the sides of a serpentine need to be straight. These Branaman onces come in to create the tear drop, almost like a pear shape.
Clever?! What on earth calls for that? I was just having a bloody conversation
 

Jessey

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You could try doing the giravolta, which is where the horse walks around you with his head turned towards you, stepping stepping stepping under with his inside hind leg. Sid finds it very hard and soon grinds to a halt but Ziggy could giravolte and Charlie (who was very straight and supple) didn't even know it was supposed to be an exercise!
That sounds a good one to try, I shall google for a video
 

Skib

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Clever?! What on earth calls for that? I was just having a bloody conversation
Look I am old and came relatively late to riding vocabulary so may be it wasnt you who used the word giravolta in a post. If it wasnt you, I apologise. In any case I had no idea what that means. But I meant whoever used it was clever to know the right words.
But I do know that I am a serious intelligent woman and dont deserve to be sworn at.
 

Jessey

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Look I am old and came relatively late to riding vocabulary so may be it wasnt you who used the word giravolta in a post. If it wasnt you, I apologise. In any case I had no idea what that means. But I meant whoever used it was clever to know the right words.
But I do know that I am a serious intelligent woman and dont deserve to be sworn at.
No it wasn’t me that used that name, but regardless there is no need to get snippy at anyone for using the correct name for something, at least I was able to look it up easily. If you think that was swearing be glad I didn’t type what I was actually thinking after 2 rude posts from you.
 

PePo

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I have a straightness training book, but didn’t find it very easy to follow 😬 maybe I’ll read it again and see if it is easier to follow 3rd time around 😋

I’ll look up the other one too, thanks

To be fair, I have to really simplify the ST stuff and just concentrate on the absolute basics. Otherwise, my head would get blown in a real muddle 🤣

Skib, genuinely, are you ok? I only ask as you're not coming across in your normal way in a couple of posts I've seen. The giravolta post came after your post commenting about being clever. Times have been stressful lately, so hope you are ok.
 
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