Shallow-Loop Serpentines

You know how much I love the bend-efits of the serpentine right? Suppleness, straightness, bend, focus… the list is as long as the serpentine itself! 

In this week’s video, I’m showing you how to do the perfect shallow-loop serpentine with Mercurio, with footage both on the ground and in the air! 

Most serpentines go all the way across the arena, but a shallow loop goes only to the centreline.  You go from one corner, into X and then back to the corner.

The shallow-loop serpentine is great for getting you to focus on making the bend in the right place without having to just rely on the other side of the arena!

This is a wonderful exercise for suppleness and for getting your horse on the aids.  

It’s really important to change the bend through each turn, moving the horse around your inside leg and guiding with your outside leg, giving the desired outcome of nice curvy lines .

What we don’t want is to come steep off the corner in a straight diagonal line, go straight on the centre line and then step back out to the other corner on a straight line again. We want nice arching curved lines and good bend throughout, not geometric lines

Here’s some tips to get great shallow-loop serpentines.

  • If you’re having trouble getting your horse to bend, do a ten meter circle at X to remind them to bend in the body and then go back to the rail. 
  • Any time they resist the bend, ask for a ten meter circle in the direction in question.
  • Setting out cones is a great way to give you and your horse focus and make you aware of the accuracy of where you both need to be.

Watch the video with tandem footage from the ground and the air, where Mercurio and I show you what to do, what NOT to do, and some handy fixes for when things aren’t bending your way! 

Thanks for watching and Happy Riding!

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