Teaching A Horse To Bend

Bending is one of the most important parts of any discipline in riding. Of course, as a human being you’ll never be able to command your horse to bend. But by doing this you can improve your ride and make it more enjoyable for you and the horse. Here are some tips that will help.

Endurance riding may be a popular sport, but there is a huge learning curve. Unfortunately, the more you know about endurance riding, the more confusing it gets because each discipline has its own unwritten rules and traditions.

Teaching a horse to bend is a useful skill to have, because it lets you use your horse’s natural talent and instinct in the most effective way possible.

Horses are naturally flexible, but they can also be stubborn sometimes. By teaching a horse to bend, you’ll be able to get your horse to do what you want it to do even when it doesn’t want to.

A horse that bends will be more willing to learn new things, as well as perform better at old tasks.

Teaching a horse to bend is an important part of the training process. It helps the horse learn how to follow your lead, and it makes it easier for you to control them.

The first step is to find a quiet area where there are no distractions. This can be in a field or in a riding arena. Then, you should put on your riding gloves and boots before approaching the horse. You’ll want to use a soft voice and approach slowly so that they don’t get scared or spooked.

Next, rub your hand along the spine of the horse until you feel where it begins to curve upwards towards their hips. Then, place one hand on each side of this area and push gently downward until you feel the spine begin to bend downwards more than normal. Hold this position for about ten seconds before releasing gently so that he knows what he just did was correct behavior!

Teaching A Horse To Bend

How many times have you had the remark, “Could have more bend.” on your dressage test sheet?

Lack of supple bend is a common fault that judges will mark down.

But how do you train your horse to bend, and what’s the difference between bend and flexion?

Read on to find out more.

What’s the difference between bend and flexion?

Correct bend means that the horse is bent evenly through the neck and body around the circle, corner or turn he is negotiating.

Flexion refers to the angle of the horse’s head from the poll.  This means that you could ask your horse to move in a straight line, but with flexion to the right or left.  If the horse is submissive to the contact, he will happily flex at the poll without resistance.

How to create bend

Firstly it must be established that the horse works into an even contact on both reins and the rider is able to distinguish between flexion and bend.

When riding on a circle or through corners, your aids should be as follows:

Body position

Your outside hip and shoulder should be slightly forwards and your inside hip and shoulder slightly back

Your seat should be parallel to the horse’s shoulders

Rein aids

Guide the horse with both reins.

Keep your outside hand near the horse’s neck with a firm, elastic contact to prevent him from falling out through his shoulder.

Open your inside hand towards the bend.

Keep your contact soft and relaxed so that you’re not pulling the horse into the bend with your hand.

Leg aids

Use your inside leg on the girth to encourage the horse to bend around it, and keep your outside leg on as a passive aid to prevent the quarters from swinging out.

The correct bend

When bending correctly, the horse should remain on one track as he negotiates circles, corner, and turns.

He should bend uniformly through his body and neck in the direction of travel, and should not tip or tilt his head against the correct flexion.

In conclusion

A supple horse that willingly bends around circles, through corners and when negotiating turns will gain good marks in a dressage test.

Suppleness and acceptance of the bend is also very important if you want to progress to teaching your horse lateral work.

Begin with large circles and don’t ask for too much bend until your horse is more supple.

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