Articles |Suppling Your Horse
by Suzanne Drnec as told by Les Vogt
|A supple horse is flexible, willing, and able to perform the work asked for
by his rider. He is not stiff, rigid, or sluggish, but responds instantly to his
rider's subtle cues. Just as a swimmer has a pre-race routine to prepare their
body and mind for activity, and as a ballerina stretches her muscles at the
barre before she dances, your equine athlete should be mentally and physically
warmed up- called suppling- before he performs.
“Every horse will benefit from increased suppleness. A supple, responsive horse will learn easier and perform better than a stiff or rigid horse. ”
WHAT IS SUPPLING?
Suppling is teaching your horse- dressage horse, jumper, reiner, or pleasure
riding horse- to yield to the pressure of rein, leg, or body weight. Suppleness
is the opposite of resistance, and produces maximum performance with a minimum
of effort from the rider. A supple, responsive horse is the basis for all
WHO SHOULD SUPPLE THEIR HORSE?
Every horse will benefit from increased suppleness. A supple, responsive
horse will learn easier and perform better than a stiff or rigid horse.
Suppleness increases communication between horse and rider.
HOW DO YOU SUPPLE YOUR HORSE?
*Always supple your horse one side at a time.
*Work one rein or press with
one leg gently, until your horse yields.
*Don't pull directly back on both
reins, or apply pressure with both legs.
*The instant your horse yields to
rein or leg pressure, release the pressure as his reward.
WHY DO YOU SUPPLE YOUR HORSE?
A supple horse is easily guided through any maneuver. He respects his rider
and allows the rider to position the horse's body and legs for maximum
performance. A supple horse is a good student!
WHEN SHOULD YOU SUPPLE YOUR HORSE?
Every time you ride any horse, begin with suppling exercises. Search for and
eliminate resistance to prepare your horse to think, learn, and excel. Return to
suppling if your horse feels stiff or resistant, even in the midst of other
training. Suppling reestablishes communication with your horse.