Scales of Training - Suppleness in trot and canter

This is second in the scales of training.

Having established a good rhythm you can now work on the suppleness of your horse.

You are looking to engage the hind legs to use the muscles through the hind quarters, over the back and withers.

Suppleness is freedom from tension in the body on both sides and also a relaxed mind.

The horse should be willing and able to bend equally around both legs.

They should have soft, rhythmical and relaxed breathing

And a happy expression on their face.

They should be willing to stretch towards the bit and take the contact.

It is important to work both sides of the body equally otherwise you will cause an imbalance and one side will become more supple than the other.

Is your horse tense while working in the school?

Does your horse work better on one rein rather than the other?

If the answer is YES to these questions then your horse may well be lacking suppleness.

This young horse demonstrates how further work on his right bend needs to be developed in order to make him more equal and balanced.

Once he becomes more supple he will become more relaxed and the tension in his body will reduce.

There are many ways to help with suppleness such as:

Lateral work like shoulder in and leg yielding - If you do this on the ¾ line then it will stop them from using the outside of the arena as support.

circles, transitions, serpentines. Figure of 8, Pole work will all help

Flexion to the inside and outside (as demonstrated in the video).