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Lateral Thinking with Charlotte Dujardin

Among the many lessons spectators gleaned from the 2018 Charlotte Dujardin clinics held in Calgary and Toronto, one that stood out was the importance of lateral work at every age and stage of the horse’s development. From the four-year-olds to the grand prix horses, Charlotte used a series of lateral exercises with each group, not only to work on the specific movements found in their dressage tests, but to improve suppleness, straightness, transitions, and the quality of the gaits. “All horses are naturally stronger or more supple on one side than the other,” Charlotte says. “All riders are, too, which is why it’s not surprising that a rider usually shares his bad side with his horse. We need to address our own balance and weaknesses in the saddle so that the horse is always working evenly in both reins and is equally supple left and right. For the rider, that…

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