Travers (Hind quarter-in):
When the horse has an inside hind leg that can bend (from working with shoulder-in), this leg can also be trained as an outside hind leg. Travers (or quarter-in) reduces the push of the outside hind leg and stimulates the development of the carrying capacity in that leg. Travers is the result of bringing the hindquarter in while keeping the shoulders in their original position. The point of weight of the horse is placed in front of the outside hind leg. This leg is placed under the weight, causing the leg to bend. In canter, the outside hind leg is a very important leg. By training travers in walk, the canter can improve significantly.
Renvers, half-pass and pirouettes are derived from quarter-in and also make the body and hind legs more bendable. Gradually, the exercises become more difficult as the horse needs more self carriage and collection.
In quarter-in, the horse moves with its shoulders against the wall. In renvers, the horse keeps his hindquarter against the wall. Renvers is a good test to check whether the horse really can bend and can carry more weight with its hind legs. If this is not the case, the horse usually tends to fall on the outside shoulder towards the middle of the arena, or on its inside shoulder towards the wall. Usually, the renvers is started from shoulder-in. When you change the bending and maintain the front legs on the inside track, this results in the renvers. The renvers by itself is not more difficult than the travers, but it is the transition shoulder-in to renvers and back which is most difficult.
Half-pass is a travers across the diagonal. During half-pass, the horse has no support from the wall. Therefore it must be able to do the exercise on its own 4 feet, without any support.
In a pirouette, the horse walks in a travers on a small circle. The front legs make a bigger circle than the hind legs. The shorter steps of the hind legs on the small circle require the horse to put a bigger weight on the hind legs. The hind legs have to carry this weight, making the shoulders move more freely.
With patient, consistent exercising and by slowly increasing the level of the exercises, the horse will become more flexible, stronger and more supple. In these exercises, it is very important to involve the inside hind leg by preventing it to step too much to the inside. The next step is bending the hind legs simultaneously, this is where straightness training as a basic training ends, and the Art of Riding begins.
Is an accomplished rider, clinician and published author who combines her extensive knowledge in classical dressage, biomechanics, ethology, human anatomy and zen principles to guide riders on their journey to self-improvement. The goal: harmony & lightness in the cooperation between human and horse.