Changing Posture Using Gymnastic Training


Moralejo is square! Not that he hates to have fun just that he is short in height and length. His natural way of going is right down there on his forehand as shown in this first ‘photo or right up in the air building underneck muscle.



To change the posture of a horse without gadgets that force them into a new position takes a little creative training. Using transitions, lateral work, hills and poles can help create a posture that keeps the back supple, develops the abdominal muscles and allows the pelvis to tilt, the hind joints flex and the area in front of the wither rise.


Here, with very little help from me, he is changing his frame, learning to carry himself in order to be able to step over poles. Transitions helped the process along with laterally bending him and using neck massages to keep his neck soft and free from tension.

Teaching reinback from light cues and blending it with lateral work and transitions between halt, walk and trot gets the pelvis tilting and the posture lighter still…

Trudi @

8 Replies to “Changing Posture Using Gymnastic Training”

  1. Trudi, when you speak of blending rein back with lateral work, what do you mean? I’ve used it before with lots of transitions, but never with lateral work.

  2. Leg yield into halt and then reinback almost becomes one flowing movement when they get the hang. It allows you to position a hindleg so that in the reinback that hindleg plays along rather than dipping out; great for straightness and balance. Shoulder-in to reinback is again straightening/gymnasticising; as an eg SI left/halt/reinback/SI right (counterSI) halt reinback and so forth.

  3. trudi, speaking of rein-backs, what do you think about the “balancer”, or is it “balancier”. when i watched it being performed, i was thinking that this might be helpful on my journey with the school halt? are there any pitfalls with this exercise? thanks!

    1. Balancer ( taking the weight from one front leg to the other in a hopping from side to side manner) is not something I would be interested in training or indeed have experience of training Nina. I know ‘the Russian’ uses it and have seen it done badly in some Spanish feria films of old but I have never seen it taught.

      Balancé may be what you were thinking of (said the same more or less bal-on-say) is generally used as the term for a lightening exercise of reinback, so perhaps reinback/walk/reinback/walk/reinback/trot. This is an immensley useful tool to lighten the forehand and take weight back but of course relies on a good quality reinback with a very light cue. Pitfalls are as always not to take a horse too far too quickly, lots of tiny steps in understanding will get you there. If the pelvis doesn’t tilt in the reinback and the front legs just push back it kind of negates the benefits.

      1. oh no, thats not what i saw!!! and that sounds like nothing i would need. the movement that i saw, which was being called the balancer (i guess wrongly so), was a walk, halt, rein-back, walk exercise, where the walk steps and rein-back steps became fewer, as you went, causing the horse in the video, by the time the trainer had drastically cut down the steps, to start really rocking his weight back on his haunches, and bending his hocks. it looked very pre-levade to me, and i thought it might then be good for the school halt. the video is from a girl who trains ponies, she has a few videos on youtbe, im not surprised that the wrong name may have been handed down to her. she also had something that she called the waltz, 2 steps of totf immed. followed by two steps of toth, and so forth and so no, so the horse is sort of zig-zaging along. is this something that was of a classical beginning? thanks!

        1. Nina, yes that is the second one I described. It starts out as a simple halt/reinback and then refines. Ultimately an ultra collected trot to halt/reinback and on to the trot again. Excellent for sitting them behind but in it’s final form needing a fair bit of collection to be correct and useful in gymnastic terms. As I said to Ash you can also blend lateral work with it. The word in French means to swing and a balancoire is a swing or sometimes a see-saw so you can understand the back and forth tipping of the weight of the horse being described by the verb ‘balancer’, ‘balancé’ is the past particle of the verb so literally is just part of the verb ‘swung’. It can sometimes mean rocker and I have heard it described in this way too. Beware of words in dressage, there are many who seem knowledgeable with them but when you see the way they train their horses you get quite a shock! Of course you will get to show a little of basic balancé in the baroque championship class!

  4. Interesting blog, thank you. This is something I have not thought about before but am planning on introducing more ground work (not just lunging) with my horse now I have access to an all weather surface. These exercises will be on my list to try.

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