I GOT A GREAT question the other day, about the horse’s bend on a straight line and what on earth that’s all about. So here we go:
Bending the horse correctly will increase the horse’s suppleness and proficiency and help it to eliminate tensions and stiffness. It’s one of the dressage basics. The horse can be bent laterally and longitudinally, and I’m talking about the later here that includes an even bend from the poll to the tail around the riders inside leg. In this bend we want the horse to curve around the inside leg so that the ribs on the inside of the horse’s spine comes a bit closer to each other, and its ribcage arches to the outside.
This bend is necessary for the horse to stay in balance when on a circle, and later on for collection and some lateral movements. The smaller circle or the more collection we ask for the more bend the horse needs to master in balance.
A slight bend to the rein on which the horse is being ridden should always be demanded from an educated horse in an arena, even when on a straight line.
Hope that helps!
Photo by Sophie Lefevre of the spanish superstar stallion Huggie and me.