TRAINING: Square


By mastering the square exercise, you will improve your overall straightness, the accuracy and quality of your turns, gain access to and isolate movement, and best of all, it initiates self carriage. Keep in mind this exercise is difficult and will take a few sessions to get the hang of it...but, hang in there. It pays off.

Here is how you do it.

Shoulders:

  1. Establish your square. In the arena, make the short side the new long side. And your new short side should be the same length. Thus, making a square.

  2. Start at the walk. Do not worry about the horse’s head - leave it alone. Walk straight to your first 90° turn. Make the turn by turning only the horse’s shoulders to the inside (outside leg at the girth, opening inside rein, steady outside rein, supporting inside leg). Walk straight and repeat.

  3. Change directions and repeat the exercise.

  4. When ready, repeat exercise at the trot, and then the canter.


Haunches:

  1. Establish your square. In the arena, make the short side the new long side. And your new short side should be about half the distance of your new long side.

  2. Start at the walk. Do not worry about the horse’s head - leave it alone. Walk straight to your first 90 turn. Make the turn by turning only the horse’s haunches to the outside (inside leg behind the girth, steady outside rein, supple inside rein, supporting outside leg). Walk straight and repeat.

  3. Change directions and repeat the exercise.

  4. When ready, repeat exercise at the trot, and then the canter.


Remember, keep this exercise short and sweet. No more than 5 minutes a session to build understanding, strength, and the coordination desired. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither is a good horse or rider. Happy riding!