The trouble with travers

Travers (also known as haunches-in) is one of those movements that I hardly ever ride, and I know I really should ride it more often but for some reason I've never really liked the movement. I first learnt about it with Basse when I was having lessons to try to help him to learn half pass, as this movement is often used in schooling as a way to prep the horse for teaching them half-pass but it's never been one of my favourites to ride.
 So let's just recap what travers really is - when riding this movement the horse is asked to bring their hindquarters to the inside of the line they're being ridden on, whilst maintaining bend through the poll, neck and body in the direction of travel. So essentially, if you're riding this on the long side of the arena the horses bum is 'in' and the rest of their body is still on the long side. You can ride it on any line and it is particularly useful for communicating to the horse the meaning of your inside and outside legs. If you really want to challenge yourself and your horse, ride travers on the 3/4 line and if you can get it perfect you know your travers is in fine shape! 🐴

The aim of the haunches-in is to collect the pace, whether you're riding it in walk, trot or canter, and to improve the balance all the while also being a progressive exercise for the more advanced movements. For competition purposes, the travers is ridden only in trot but during training, I ride travers in all the paces because it helps to teach the horse to take more weight back onto the hind legs and to build the impulsion and self-carriage required for the more advanced lateral movements.
But then when you look at the common problems and the faults seen in travers, you can see why it's not one of my favourites. There are a number of common faults that you see when horses and riders are riding travers, including too little/too much angle, not enough bend, and the horse drifting to the inside of the track. But all of these are easily fixed ☑️ When there's too little angle you can use quicker, more precise leg aids enhanced with a ‘tick’ from the whip and when there's too much angle remember to use less outside leg and more inside leg. What I always try to remember when riding travers is to ride into an effective outside rein to help control the amount of bend. Sometimes you have to bring the horse to walk and create flexion through the poll and bend through the body and then ask the hindquarters to step in slightly.
The reason why travers isn't my favourite is that there is just so much that can go wrong with it. Always begin teaching your horse to perform this exercise in walk, only progressing to trot and canter when the horse is confident and you can coordinate your aids correctly. And as with any difficult exercise, end your training sessions on a positive note. BUT with patience and putting the effort in I do think that travers is a very useful exercise to have in your training tool box! 

No comments:

Post a Comment