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Understanding Bend

Whether riding an even 20 meter circle, navigating a twisting trail through the woods, or keeping your balance cantering a tight corner on the jump course, bend is important.

However, bend is another concept in riding that is often poorly understood.

And if we don’t understand what we are asking our horse to do, how do we ask them to do it?

Where should the horse bend their body?

How much should they be bending?

In last week’s video, I demonstrated the meaning of “inside leg to outside rein”. In today’s video, I will explain the real meaning of bend and how to ask for and develop this important movement in your horse.

Click Play to watch below!




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12 Responses

  1. Mickey bends better to the left than the right. I know this because when I click and treat I observe it. I always ride patterns both directions so that he gets a chance to stretch out. Thank you for the great video.

  2. I love how you explain a complex topic in a short amount of time. I don’t have time for an hour long video and your videos are always succinct and understandable. Thank you for addressing these phases that are often used but not always clearly understood.

    1. Hi Lynn,

      Thank you for your response! Glad to hear the video lengths and content have been in a format you feel is easy to follow and understand. 🙂


  3. My horse tends to counter bend away from work. I’m not sure if this is because I cue him wrong, he’s avoiding my leg (and work), or if he’s off balance. I’ve been working this past week on being very careful with my leg and body (minus the hands) to do small figure 8s over a pole. We’re getting better!

  4. My former tb race horse is stiff.
    My trainer has me pulling her head to each side and holding until she gives. I’m thinking this is a bit harsh and may cause bracing.
    What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Andy,
      Side stretches can be really beneficial for a horse’s spine and back, and waiting for a nice give is essential to getting a proper stretch. However, rather than pulling the horse’s head around (which can cause bracing), you want to make sure you are only holding enough gentle pressure to ask for the give. With a really stiff horse, they may only be able to give with only a slight bend, and that’s okay–their flexibility will improve over time. I would also suggest you do these stretches from the ground before you mount up and after your ride to warm up your horse’s muscles and prevent stiffness after exercise. This way they can stretch without added weight on their back. 🙂

  5. It was very informative. I did not understand though, what is meant by opening the rein (English is not my primary language)

  6. I have Stay in the Saddle.
    The link to the videos from my phone is not working.
    It used to.
    Very disappointing.
    Was that feature only offered for a limited time?

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