There are a number of exercises you should master in order to improve your horses ability to bend laterally (sideways), his overall suppleness and encourage engagement of his hindquarters. One of them is Travers (or haunches in). This lateral exercise is where the horse moves on a straight line with the quarters on an inner track and is essential for those who have already mastered shoulder-in and are ready to move up to half-pass.
You should begin asking for Travers in walk by ensuring that the walk is active with free and flowing movement.
It is important to be conscious of this so that you do not lose the rhythm or tempo and the gait is not be impaired in any way as the Travers begins.
- Use the corner of the school to help you set up or ride a 10m circle
- As the horses shoulder comes out of the circle, give the aids …
- Both you and your horse should be looking forward in the direction of travel
- Move your outside leg back slightly behind the girth to ask the horse’s hindquarters to move inwards to a 30 degree angle.
- The outside rein should balance the horse and control the bend.
- Keep your inside leg on the girth to maintain impulsion and flexion to the inside.
- Your inside rein will maintain a soft contact and flexion.
- Ride a few quality strides only, straighten the horse and ride away until you are able to maintin Travers along the whole side of the arena.
Try Travers …
- On a circle
- In trot
- In canter
- Up the Centre line
- Ride a half 10m circle and return to E or B in Travers
- Ride shoulder in along long side to E or B, 10m circle followed by Travers for the rest of the long side.
DO NOT …
- Look behind at the horse’s quarters
- Collapse your inside hip
- Allow your upper body to become crooked
- Swing your outside lower leg too far back
- Allow the impulsion to wane
- Ask for too much angle
- Allow the horse to look to the outside
So, there you have it the do’s and do nots of Travers. Take it slowly, really think about your body position and how it affects the horse, be quiet in your aids and expect it to happen.
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster