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Complexity or simplicity in the laterals

Updated: Apr 2

I'm looking back on two fantastic guest lectures with Equilibrio - Claudia Wolters on the laterals for our PIB Community.


In the first lecture, we deeply dived into the 'versal laterals' which is essentially only the shoulder-in. But, hey, only ... this is such an important but still so difficult exercise in horse training.


In the second lecture, we dived deeply into the 'traversal laterals' as the haunches-in, renvers, half-pass, and pirouette. But are those solely traversal movements? At least the half-pass is not, as there is also a versal part included as the shoulder-in should always be available. And also in the haunches-in, renvers, and pirouette the shoulder-in has its place, at least for balancing out a bit too much and so much more.


As one of my students phrased it so nicely. Claudia dissected the lateral in a quite detailed way which gave a lot of fruit for thoughts for everybody. Thank you so much, h Claudia.


My conclusion after the lectures and from my experiences in teaching and doing the laterals myself is, that complexity meets simplicity.


Now you might say, hey, complexity and simplicity are contradictory and, yes, generally you are right.


But for me the laterals are characterized by both:


Complexity, because when you truly dive into the what, why, how of the laterals you'll be confronted with the complexity of the required and aspired physical qualities, the number of different aids the horse needs to be able to understand mentally, the strengths, flexibility, and stamina the horse needs to be able to follow the desired question physically, and the physical and mental ability of the human/rider to halt all the balls in the air and keep everything together without micromanaging, making the horse do it, or keeping everything with pressure together.


Simplicity, my experience in teaching and doing the laterals is, that the more you do the more quality you lose. When you are feeling the need to micromanage your horse into the lateral you are lacking some ingredients, quality, or ability, that you need to re-teach in isolation first. And the more effortless it feels the more you know that the understanding, motivation, and physical ability is already available.


So, when teaching and doing the laterals, keep this in mind and have fun understanding the nuances and feeling the beauty and effectiveness of these exercises. Because only when you do them with essence you can expect your horse to develop ... ;-)

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