To ride pleasantly, we need a horse that is capable of collection, lightness in the front and manouverability. The horse needs to be in balance under its rider, and carry the weight in a way the horse will not get damaged.
This we want for any riding horse in any discipline!
All horses are slightly asymmetrical from nature. This natural crookedness can be compensated by training muscles. This training is called ''straightness training'', resulting in the end in a horse that:
Straightness training is therefore a basic training for any riding horse, and is also the basic of the Academic Art of Riding. It means to balance the horse in all dimensions:
In nature, the horse puts more weight on the front legs. When we ride it however, our weight also is placed on the front legs, which can damage them. The ultimate goal of straightness training is to get more weight on the hind legs, in order to protect the fragile front legs during riding. The horse must develop from a natural balance to a riding balance.
Straightness training is done in three parts:
In every part we want to see a correct lateral bending, a forward-down tendency and the stepping under of the hind leg(s). This way, we train towards suppleness and bending in the body and the hind legs. First separately, later combined.
I like to share my thoughts on the Art of Riding with you here. Topics related to training and keeping horses and reports of my own experiences you can find here. Enjoy!