The following simple loosening exercises are suitable for 3- to 4-year-old horses in the first five to six months of training;

1. As a general rule, about 10 minutes in walk on a loose rein. For safety reasons young horses who have only just started ridden work should only be ridden on a contact, but without flexion at the poll. Horses in whom the four-beat walk is not properly established, those who overbend slightly, or have poll problems, should be worked on a long rein in order to control flexion in the poll area.
2. Rising trot on a circle.
3. Changes of rein in trot – out of the circle, across the short and long diagonals.
4. Frequent transitions between trot and walk.
5. Transitions between trot and canter on a circle (about every one or two circles).
6. Lengthening the stride (on the long side) – maintaining the tempo.
7. Allowing the horse to stretch down and chew the reins out of the rider’s hands in rising trot.
8. One shallow loop on the long side.
9. Three-loop serpentines in rising trot with large, round loops.
10. Leg-yield to the outside (head to the wall).
11. Turns around the forehand.

All exercises and movements should be ridden on the longest possible contact (with poll flexion) to improve the horse’s ability to work through the back.
After about half a year of training, more difficult exercises and movements can be introduced:

1. Frequent transitions between trot and canter on a circle (every half- or full circle).
2. Making the circle smaller (remaining on one track) and leg-yielding back out again.
3. Lengthening the steps on the open section of the circle. (The open section of, say, a 20 m circle started at A or C is the section that passes through X, i.e. that is not enclosed by the arena walls.)
4. Two shallow loops on the long side.
5. Leg-yield to the inside (head away from the wall).
6. Riding’squares’ (figures with quarter-volte corners), making them smaller, then larger again.
7. Lengthening the stride on the long side, returning to the original stride length again on the short side.
8. Allowing the horse to stretch down into a longer contact, while chewing quietly at the bit in halt, walk, trot and canter.
9. Riding medium walk (on long reins to control poll flexion).

All exercises should be ridden first in walk, then trot then, when appropriate, canter. Suppleness of the back and flexibility through the ribs will be improved. A basic routine can be made up by choosing a number and sequence of different exercises and movements for the trainer/rider to follow, which can be adapted from horse to horse.

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