Three Loop Serpentines

To ride this exercise properly takes more skill and practice than you might first imagine. When you think about it, you are making two changes of bend within a relatively short space and naturally your horse will have a preference for one rein.

  • In addition, you need to ensure that your horse stays balanced throughout the exercise - and there's the added challenge for the rider of ensuring that all three loops are equal!

serpentine

  • The exercise is started at either A or C with three equal sized loops being made - think of splitting the arena into three blocks sitting on top of each other. If you start from C you will ride for two or three strides (depending on the length of your horse's stride) from C and then ride a half circle of just over 13 metres, then straighten as you go over the centre line, changing your horse's bend as you cross the centre line, then riding a second half circle of just over 13m, before straightening again as you cross the centre line. Then you change the bend again and ride your third half circle before rejoining the track at A.
  • From your horse's point of view you need to check that he finishes one curve and stays upright in the shoulders before negotiating the next curve. Think balance, balance as you ride this exercise.
  • You can ride this exercise in trot and try it in canter as well - coming back to trot and asking for a simple change initially.
  • Remember your horse will naturally be stiffer on one rein and may fall in rather than bend when on this rein. Help him by ensuring that he is accepting your inside rein contact and reacting properly to your inside leg. Don't forget to use your outside leg to control his hindquarters.
  • Think about your own position as well - use your seat, legs and rein aids to make changes of bend rather than relying solely on your rein aids.
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