Doing Lateral Work with the Icelandic Horse

To do correct lateral work, a horse needs to bend his spine and stay in the requested gait. Lateral work for gaited horses is generally done at walk and trot due to the biomechanics involved in the easy gaits.

The movements of shoulder-in, haunches-in, leg-yield, and half pass can be done at the walk, flat walk, fox walk, sometimes fox trot if the horse is somewhat collected.

The above movements can not be done at the running walk as they tend to intefere and lose gait.

Neither can they be done, correctly, in the gaits of saddle rack (saddle tolt) or rack (tolt), as the horse can not bend AND perform the gait.

The movements also can not be done in the stepping pace or pace.

Some trainers / clinicians are teaching students to do these movements at the tolt, but the horses are not bending thru the body and the necks are crammed. This defeats the purpose of the exercise. It's biomechanically impossible for them to tolt and do correct lateral work. Best to stay at the walk and trot.

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