Straightness training consists of gymnastic exercises such as shoulder-in, haunches-in and the derived exercises like renvers, half-pass and pirouette. These exercises ensure the horse to develop symmetrically in body and limbs and prepare the horse for collection.

side movements1 1024x492 The essence of side movements

When performing these exercises the essence must be well observed:

  1. The center of balance must be in the right place in the body
  2. The hind legs must step under the correct center of balance to be able to take weight
  3. Which results in a lifting of the fore hand and freely moving shoulders

Side movements without essence


sideways1 300x161 The essence of side movementsExamples in which the essence gets lost are a shoulder-in or haunches-in which are performed too much sideways or a half-pass which is performed with a straight body and/or the hind-quarters leading,

If the essence is gone the hind legs cannot do their job properly because they cannot step under the center of balance: The hind legs will step behind the center of balance or push against it and you will notice that immediately in the front.

What you experience in the ‘front’ has its cause in the ‘back’


If  side movements are performed without essence, this will manifests itself directly in the head and neck posture of the horse:

horizontaalscheef 300x212 The essence of side movements
  • The horse goes behind the bit during the side movements
  • He shortens his neck with too much flex ion
  • The horse goes to deep with the head and neck
  • The nose of the horse comes behind the vertical
  • He moves ‘downhill’
  • The horse gets heavier and heavier in the hand and starts leaning on the rein

Also the following symptoms may occur:onderhals 150x150 The essence of side movements

  • He doesn’t want to be ‘on the bit’ during the side movement
  • The horses won’t yield anymore on the slightest closing of the hand
  • His underneck tightens
  • He gets harder and harder in the mouth
  • And a variety of other disturbances in the ‘front’ may occurs

Side movements with essence


A horse that does the exercises with essence:

  • Uses his body and hind legs properly
  • and will move ‘uphill’
  • and lengthen his neck
  • and his shoulders are moving freely forward.

Volte 150x150 The essence of side movements Without essence  4thKeyST 150x150 The essence of side movements With essence

So if you have problems in the ‘front’, don’t search for the solution in the mouth, the neck of the head of the horse, but ensure a better use of the hindquarters.

And be careful with riding the ‘names’ of the exercises instead of the ‘essences’:

  • Don’t ride just a ‘shoulder-in’, but make sure the inside hind leg takes weight, so that the outside shoulder is lifted and gets more freedom.
  • Don’t ride just a ‘half-pass’, but make sure both hind legs are stepping under the center of balance, taking the weight, so the horse remains uphill throughout the diagonal and continuous feels light in the front.

Click here ST HSC 300x75 The essence of side movementsSo it’s important to use the essence of straightness training in all gymnastic exercises.



  • facebook The essence of side movements

Facebook comments:

to “The essence of side movements”

  1.   dana robbinon 23 Apr 2012 at 05:28

    hi, how much is this course in US dollars? thank you,

  2.   Beate Tandeon 09 Feb 2013 at 09:41

    You are an excellent teacher. The way you explain – and illustrate the different movements, and possible problems connected to them, is very easy to understand. Thank you so much!

Leave a Reply