Week 1 – Winter Break Exercises

Looking for motivation/ideas during our four week break? Each week I will post exercises to try if you wish!

This week, try riding with your reins in one hand. Riding with your reins in one hand has a few benefits: it helps you test how much you rely on your inside rein (and forces you to use other aids), and it allows you to do some equitation exercises!

Midas’ Challenge: Try riding a pole pattern/course with your reins in one hand.

  • Try to alternate which hand you use to hold the reins. Do you find it harder with one hand than the other? Working on your weak side can help your overall riding symmetry!
  • Try to do the pattern with your “free” arm stretched over your head. This helps put your upper body in “neutral” and can help with both a hollow or rounded posture.
  • Try to do it posting and in two point!

Scotch’s Challenge: Try riding a circle at walk, trot and canter, with your reins in one hand.

    • Spiral in and out of the circle, increase bend and decreasing stride length to spiral in, and decreasing bend and increasing stride to spiral out.
    • Alternatively, you can spiral in and out by using leg yield aids to push the horse in on the circle (with a mild outside flexion), or leg yield out with the inside flexion.
  • Try a figure: are your two circles the same size?
    Pro Tips:

    Remember to look where you are going with your shoulders.

    The slower you go, the easier it should be, so if you are having trouble, SLOW DOWN.

    Remember to rebalance your horse often: an unbalanced horse will be on his forehand, and will fall in and out through its shoulders.

    Resist crossing your hand hard over the neck: if you have to use a strong rein of opposition (outside rein), you are just throwing your horse off balance to the inside. Revisit the basics: are you looking where you are going? Are you making sure your horse is going at a balanced and comfortable pace? Are you helping your horse bend with your inside leg at the girth, and turn with your outside leg gently pressing behind the girth into the turn?