Bending for Relaxation

In this exercise, you will walk a small circle (2 meters or 6 feet) using only your inside rein, with quite a bit of bend in your horse’s body. You will hold this circle until the horse relaxes the tension in their body, and stretches over their topline, reaching around and down with their poll.

Success Tips:

- Body Position: Make sure to engage your core to prevent you from leaning forward when grabbing the rein. You want to sit up nice and tall, and gently reach down and out while maintaining that upward body position. Your horse will feel this, and it will also help prevent fatigue and the possibility of you falling off balance.
- Ensure you teach your horse to walk a straight circle first before you attempt to keep the horse on that straight circle.

Common Problems/Mistakes:

- Many horses will run their shoulder out, drop their shoulder in, or stop. These are all mental braces. You could equate them to the 3 types of the parasympathetic nervous system. Running the shoulder out away from your ask is flight, dropping the shoulder in is fight, and stopping is the freeze response.
- If your horse goes from one to the other, such as dropping in, then running the shoulder out, then back in, release as they find that neutral spot in between the two.