Migrated Other Riding

Equestrian Tip: Why It’s Worth Working On The Basics

Written by Andrea Parker

After five days off the week before last,* Nonie had come back into work feeling not quite right. She wasn’t flattening out and pushing onto the forehand resulting in a heavy contact which has been her usual go to for quite some time, but I just felt like I couldn’t quite get her through.

Yesterday afternoon I had a brilliant lesson with my coach Nancy Baretta. She was able to very quickly see that Nonie was blocking through the ribs which was what was giving me that slightly wooden feeling. A new evasion!

She also pointed out that in my efforts to get Nonie through I was rushing the trot. I was then able to notice that Nonie was speeding up in the walk trot transitions rather than engaging and lifting.

With the problem identified, Nancy gave me some ideas on how to help work Nonie through this to get her back soft and relaxed and help her use her body more correctly.

A photo of Nonie and I from earlier this year

In the trot we started on a ten metre circle and then leg yielded out to help Nonie soften through the ribs. This will be a great exercise for me to use when I am riding on my own as I could much more easily feel when she was straight. I also focused on keeping Nonie a little deeper and slowed the trot down a shade.

All this resulted in some super shoulder in. It also reminded me of an important lesson.

When your horse is going correctly, the lateral work will be easy.

We did a similar exercise in the canter, except that in the canter I need to be sure to keep the canter forward and jumping. In the canter, I have a tendency to slow Nonie down as soon as I start doing smaller circles or lateral work.

We did our lesson in the double bridle which I feel like I am starting to get the hang of! Some of you may recall that this was a goal I set for myself earlier this year. Putting a normal snaffle rein on the curb bit has helped me to keep my hands in the right spot.

P.S. If you enjoyed this article, trot on over to: 

Love it? Share it!

About the author


Andrea Parker

Andrea is an Adult Amateur dressage rider who competes at medium level on her 13-year-old mare Mon Ami. Andrea shares her journey through the equestrian world on her blog The Sand Arena Ballerina and is working on an equestrian podcast called Equestrian Pulse.