Understanding Inside and Outside in Your Riding

Understanding Inside and Outside in Your Riding

Understanding Inside and Outside in Your Riding

Understanding What Inside and outside means in your Riding

What this episode is all about & how it can help you:-

  • Understand what inside and outside are when it comes to your aids
  • Take the confusion out of applying your aids correctly
  • Get started reframing how you think and apply your aids
  • Think and ride with your horse…

There is one thing that I notice time and again when working with riders in the arena…  The confusion that shows up regarding left and right.  Now, bear with me here; of course these riders understand and know their left from their right. Most riders over the age of 6 can do that.

However, the confusion seems to occur when coupling left and right with a specific aid.  Such as left leg, or right hand.  Even ‘track right’ or ‘ask for flexion to the left’ seems to throw many riders off their game.

I have found that using the terms ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ so much easier for all involved.  But in order to successfully do this, the rider must first understand those terms and how they relate to their horses.

In this episode of the Daily Strides Podcast I will explain ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ with regards to your horse, rather than where you are in the arena. This concept is not only useful for smoothing out those pesky directional issues in the arena. 

It is essential for you to really understand and apply your aids when on your horse. 

Begin By Using Your Location in the Arena

If you are new to these terms, the easiest way for me to explain outside and inside is to use the arena or space you’re working in.  Your outside is the side of your body closest to the rail or fence of the arena.  Your inside is the side of your body closest to the middle or centre of the arena.

If using your location in the arena to determine outside and inside, remember to ‘swap’ each time you change rein.  Your inside will become your outside and your outside will become your inside.

Practice thinking of your aids as being ‘outside’ or ‘inside’, rather than right or left.  Once you have become comfortable using this, you can take the next step in your riding.

Using Your Position on Movements & School Figures

The next step to correctly using the concept of outside or inside in your riding is to be aware of where you are at any given point in a movement or figure.  This is regardless of where the shape or movement is being ridden in the arena.

A circle is simple enough to understand.  The outside is the side closest to the edge of the circle.  The inside is the side closest to the centre of your circle.  This is regardless of where your circle is being ridden in the arena.

For example, your inside leg is the one closest to the middle of your circle.  Your inside leg is the one your horse is bending around. 

Sometimes you have to ‘break’ or divide shapes up in order to identify inside and outside.  For example if you are riding a serpentine.  Think of it as being a series of semi-circles connected by short straight lines.

Your Horses Flexion Determines Inside and Outside

The aim of starting off using your position in the arena or during an exercise is to become familiar with thinking inside and outside.  However, it is only a stepping stone on the way to the real ‘meaning’ of inside and outside in your riding.

Inside and outside is truly dictated by our horse and the flexion present through your horse. 

If your horse is flexed or bending to the left, your left becomes your inside. The same applies to the right.  Flexion to the right means the right side is the inside.

This is important as there are many exercises that have your horse flexing differently to the ‘shape’ you are riding.  Counter canter is a good example of this.  Leg yielding is another example of where it is important to understand that it is your horses flexion, rather than where you are in the arena that decides inside and outside.

Start Today – And Say Goodbye to ‘Right’ and ‘Left’

I really believe that you must begin thinking this way in order to move your riding forward.  It is confusing to continue to think in terms of left and right when in the saddle.

Thinking inside and outside really connects you to what you are doing and what your horse is doing at any given time.  It helps you to work with your horse. 

Take time to allow yourself to feel confident thinking about your aids as being inside and outside.  Every time you apply an aid, ask yourself is this inside or outside?  Question what makes it one or the other.

Soon, inside and outside will become second nature to you in the saddle.  And you can banish any confusion of right and left forever!

Happy Riding


Other posts, episodes and resources that relate to this topic:-

Daily Strides Premium

If you want to learn more about your aids and the application of your aids, Daily Strides Premium is packed full of trainings you can use.  With specific sections on leg, rein and seat aids and then also schooling, you can begin becoming clearer on your aids immediately.

Couple this with the live Q&As, the monthly review and planning live calls and the members only private group ~ we are here to help you remain accountable as team leader for you and your horse.

All of the trainings are easily accessed using your phone, meaning that you can take them with you where ever you are going.  These trainings and so much more are available for you immediately when you join Daily Strides Premium. Find out more HERE

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