By Eliza Sydnor Romm
This is an excellent suppling and collecting exercise, one I learned from JJ Tate. Allow your horse to figure this out in a “small” trot, slightly underpowered, sometimes called the “school trot.”
Starting on a 20 m circle to the L, develop a good bend L in sitting trot with the horse well connected. Ask for travers (haunches in) left. Sitting into your L seat bone, and keeping the horses’ shoulders trotting on an accurate 20 m circle, ask for the haunches to come in, with an increased bend to the L.
When the travers L feels steady, transition into renvers (haunches out.) You will need to change your weight more into your R seat bone, change the bend to the R, and use your L leg to ask the horse to displace his haunches to the R (outside of the circle.) Try to maintain an accurate 20 m circle.
Continue to transition slowly back and forth between travers and renvers. Go as slowly as you need, so you allow the horse to make smooth transitions between each.
Going back and forth will help make your horse more supple each direction, and will make them engage one hind leg more, then the other. You’ll find that it’s difficult to keep the 20 m circle accurate, because it’s hard to control the horse’s shoulders as you change bend and positioning. As you get better control over the shoulders, and continue engaging each hind leg, the horse will shorten his whole frame and become more uphill.
Pitfalls – it will be hard to do this exercise and stay symmetrical in your body. Take time as you change from travers to renvers to think about sitting into the direction of the bend without leaning left or right. And keep the leg that’s on the inside of the bend LONG and underneath your hip, rather than slipping in front of you.
About the Certified Instructor
Eliza Sydnor Romm is an FEI rider and trainer based in Snow Camp, NC. She is a USDF Certified Instructor Training-Fourth Level, successful competitor through Grand Prix and popular clinician. Eliza, and her assistant trainer, Kate Tackett, work with horses and riders of all levels and specialize in starting young horses under saddle. Visit www.elizasydnordressage.com for more information, find her on FB @ElizaSydnorDressage, and subscribe to her YouTube channel for some great instructional videos!