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The better your lateral work gets, the easier it will be for you to teach collection, train your lead changes (which your horse has been doing since they were hours old), and reach success with more of the advanced maneuvers you’ll want your horse to do.

I start teaching lateral work to the horses we raise when we halter break them. That continues through their first ride and beyond – when they tell me they need help, they get it. I work on lateral maneuvers on most horses pretty much every ride. I may do more or less of them based on the education level of the horse, and how they feel that day. But I certainly always check in on it.

In my outside horse training program — the moment I get my hands on them we go right to the lateral work. I want them to learn to separate the parts of their body. I want them to learn to get round through their ribs, and stay soft in their face. This is how we get one to stay quiet in their mouths. If the rein is attached to their feet, their mouth will not gap, or be busy, and they’ll become quiet and confident.

For barrel racing, the lateral work is important for a few reasons. By breaking down the feet/body, you are helping the horse learn to stay round and balanced. The horse also learns to honor your leg and your rein without picking on them. This course aims to help you teach your horse how to understand your rein, your leg and more!