Friday, August 17, 2012

How To Do Turn On The Haunches Without A Mirror

Turn on the haunches is required at 3rd level.  Plus, it's a good exercise in general.  But, it can be difficult to learn and train without the aid of a mirror or someone on the ground to yell at you when you're doing it wrong.  Luckily, I found asolution to that.....

I've been riding at night a lot lately, since it's been so hot here.  My arena has lights, but not super bright lights, as I've talked about before.  I always bring my phone with me, in case I need to ring for help (and for the iPod function).  I also frequently ride in jeans, instead of breeches, because they're a bit cooler.

They also have handy ventilation holes!  Very cooling....

So, the other night I was riding in my jeans and had stuck my phone in my back pocket.  Unfortunately, during some rather forward canter work in the warm-up, my phone wiggled out of my back pocket and landed somewhere in the arena.  The lights illuminate the arena enough to ride in, but not to find a phone in, and I didn't want to squish my phone.  But I wasn't ready to stop riding, either.  What to do?

Well, there is a bit of a pool of light on the near side of the arena where you can clearly see the footing, and I could see the phone hadn't landed there.  This area is about 20m long, and 6m wide.  I decided to work on turn on the haunches, because what else can you fit into that space?

As I worked, I noticed an interesting thing:  Spider's shadow was pretty clear from the angle of the lights.  I could quite clearly see him popping his haunches out in the turns.  Naughty boy!  So, I endeavored to fix it.  He wasn't happy with that, who knows how long I'd been letting him pop his haunches out.  That's the thing about only riding one horse all the time: you lose your sense of "correctness", it gets replaced by your "normal" way of going.  But, we worked through the awkwardness with the help of our shadow and came out with some good work.

At the end of the ride he was sweating more than he does when we work on trot and canter!  Oh yes, we'll be doing that again!


  1. Nice work with the shadow feedback. Very clever! :D

    What about the phone?!

  2. Shadows can work quite well. Good idea, indeed.

    Hope you found your phone in the daylight.

  3. Ha! I was so excited about the turns that I forgot to resolve the missing phone story!

    After I put the horse away I got the flashlight out and found it. It was unharmed, thankfully. My husband would not have been pleased if he had to get me a new phone because the horse stepped on it!

  4. As a rider who frequently goes without a pair of eyes on the ground, I also use shadows when the sun is low enough.

    I also love the turn on the haunches. Excellent for practicing the aids for half-pass and canter as well as showing the horse how to really use his back end. I first tried it out with the help of mirrors. Man, do I miss those mirrors!

  5. So far I've only done turn on the haunches by accident. ;D

    Thanks for resolving the phone question!


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