Bend (riding)

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The bend is a "curvature of the longitudinal axis" of the riding horse . Waldemar Seunig distinguishes a "first degree bend", which is primarily "intended to result from the stretching of the outer side" and which is used for the solution and straightening , from the "second degree bend" through "direct action of the outer leg and rein around the inner thigh around as a support point ”, as in shoulder-in and in traverse-like positions, so that this bend serves more to gather people .

Goal setting

The term "straightening bending work" clarifies one of the main goals of these lessons: firstly, they are of high gymnastic value in that they promote flexibility and diligence, secondly, the horse should be able to “develop strength and dexterity on both sides of the body equally”.

"The even load on the inner and outer legs, regardless of whether the forehand is more or less stressed in relation to the hindquarters, is the characteristic feature of a correct longitudinal bend."

- Seunig

The bending work should therefore compensate for the horse's natural crookedness and enable it to walk in a straight line and thus avoid one-sided loads. In order to ride turns correctly, one basically has to position and bend the horse according to this turn. In the higher dressage tasks, a longitudinal bend is required on straight lines, for example in the traverse-like movements and in the traversal.


In contrast to the position , bending, as required in riding teaching, takes place not only in the neck , but over the entire longitudinal axis of the horse, i.e. it should take place from the first cervical vertebra ( atlas ) to the tail without the horse in the The neck bends more than the rest of the body. The bending work begins as soon as you ride through the corners of the dressage arena in the solution phase and then continues on serpentine lines on the long side and on serpentine lines through the entire track . Here, as on circles and voltes, the bend should always correspond to the curvature of the line on which you are riding, which is why more bends are required on a volte with a diameter of 10 meters than on a circle with 20 meters. An effective lesson is also the outward position and bending on the same track figures .

A longitudinal bend is also required in side aisles , although the horse is moving in a straight line. “Starting lesson for all subsequent lateral movements” is shoulder in . Here, however, the longitudinal bend occurs primarily in the thoracic spine, while the neck remains straight.

In order to achieve such a bend, the inner leg is used together with the inner rein that defines the position , with the outer leg and the outer rein initially acting as a custody, i.e. limiting the horse to the outside. Especially with traverses, renvers and traversals, the external aids also have a forward-sideways driving function. While you can ride a position without bending (e.g. thigh turnouts ), bending the horse without a simultaneous position in the neck is not possible for anatomical reasons.

Some authors point out that an even longitudinal bend is anatomically not possible for the horse , since the mobility in the thoracic spine is only a few centimeters. According to them, the rider's feeling of having reached such a bend in the horse is based on the horse's mobility in the shoulder or neck, which, in their opinion, underlines the importance of shoulder-in for the training of the horse.


Bending is also required in appropriate lessons in groundwork and long rein work .

Lessons with bending work in dressage


  • Guidelines for riding and driving. Vol. 1: Basic training for rider and horse . Published by the German Equestrian Association (FNverlag) Warendorf, 26th edition 1994, ISBN 3-88542-262-X
  • Guidelines for riding and driving. Vol. 2: Advanced training . Published by the German Equestrian Association (FNverlag) Warendorf, 12th edition 1997, ISBN 3-88542-283-2
  • Jean d'Orgeix, DRESSER C'EST SIMPLE , Paris 2007 (Édition Belin), ISBN 978-2-7011-4594-5
  • Waldemar Seunig, From the paddock to the caper. The training of the riding horse. With an afterword by Bertold Schirg. 2. Reprint of the edition Berlin 1943, Hildesheim etc. 2001 ( Documenta Hippologica ), ISBN 3-487-08348-5
  • Robert Stodulka, Medical Riding Instruction. Understanding, avoiding, correcting training-related problems , Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 978-3-8304-4167-0

Individual evidence

  1. Guidelines. Vol. 1 , p. 107
  2. Seunig, p. 129
  3. a b Seunig, p. 128
  4. p. 128
  5. Guidelines. Vol . 2 , p. 46.
  6. Guidelines. Vol. 2 , pp. 55, 59.
  7. Stodulka, p. 133: “If one looks at the thorax from a biomechanical anatomical point of view, it is noticeable that in the first eight Costae verae [real ribs], which are connected to the sternum [breastbone], no lateral movement is possible. Not much more sideways bending is to be expected from the cartilaginously connected respiratory ribs ”. - In the same sense, Jean d'Orgeix, p. 34: “Today we know for sure that the spine is practically immobile from the withers to the last lumbar vertebra and, apart from a minimal amount, cannot be bent laterally or longitudinally.” Aujourd'hui «nous savons de facon indiscutable que la column vertébrale, du garrot à la dernière lombaire est pratiquement rigide et ne peut s'incurver ni latéralement ni longitudinalement que de facon absolument infime. »