Homework: lengthening without tension

For Sue and Claire, who don’t get off that lightly!

Stride counting exercise to be done at walk, trot, canter and leg yield. 🙂

Choose two markers, tufts of grass or trotting poles and count the strides the horse takes between them. Concentrate on riding between them sitting tall and moving with the horse in a relaxed, swinging way. The horse should feel like they are dancing with you, not having a fight. Repeat, changing ONLY the number of strides the horse takes between the markers/poles. Some change of carriage (longer/shorter horse) is fine.

DO: Prioritise keeping the same tempo, and the same relaxed, swinging rhythm, even if that means that it takes several attempts before you achieve a longer or shorter stride length.

DO NOT: Cover the ground in half/twice the number of strides, but in a rushed or tense way.

THE POINT: By concentrating on counting e.g. less strides between the markers you won’t be as likely to tense up or “force it” and should get a bigger, more ground covering movement in a more correct, obedient and elastic way. Counting also tests whether you are actually lengthening and shortening without the need for eyes on the ground.

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