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Champion trainer Sandy Collier teaches you how to move your horse laterally and diagonally from one corner of the arena to the other.
By Sandy Collier with Erin Sullivan Haynes
Getting your horse to move sideways off your leg (or move laterally) is key to getting total control of his body. Lateral control of the hind end and shoulders helps you in simple things, like opening and closing gates or backing in a straight line. It also makes possible more advanced maneuvers, like changing leads and spinning.
Teaching your horse to move laterally is best accomplished with a progression of exercises intended to gradually reprogram your horse to move away from pressure, instead of into pressure, as he's naturally hardwired to do. You should begin with teaching your horse to move his front or rear end over from the ground, as you stand next to him unsaddled at the hitching rack, and then as you hold his reins before mounting. Once your horse has mastered the concept from the ground, you'll take it a step further and work on lateral movement while you're mounted, maneuvering him next to a gate to open it and sideways along a fence line.
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