Who put a banana inside my horse?!

Whatever you might want to say about bananas, they are very useful educational tool. In fact, their natural born crookedness is somewhat perfectly suited to explaining the basic idea of one-sidedness in the horse to novice or young riders…


Superimposing a gently bent banana onto a horse’s back in such a way that it reflects a hollow and bulging sides of horse’s back/ribcage gives an immediate and strong albeit basic, visual representation of what is happening under the rider’s seat.

A realisation that a horse cannot work under the rider in a crooked state and remain healthy is to me one of the most important facts to learn by any rider, whether one that will hack for pleasure or one who will go on to compete. For this reason I teach the concept to children and beginner riders from the word go.

Bananas are also handy when you need to explain in very simple manner why it is not a good idea to use your outside rein to pull your horse back on the track after he drifted away.

Picture a right bended horse walking alongside a fence on left rein.  He will find it difficult to be straight and will naturally want to drift away from the fence. His inside shoulder will fall in and the neck will start going towards the fence slacking rider’s outside rein. What’s most common automatic correction you have ever seen done by a novice rider with such a horse? One I see most often is that the rider wants to regain contact on the outside rein and attempts to pull the horse towards the fence with the outside hand…

Below is short video tutorial for anyone with a sense of humor that shows what happens if a horse is pulled on his front end 😉

The fact is that if we act on the head and neck with the reins we affect the weight distribution in the shoulders. Hindquarters in turn always want to square to the front end – pretty much like in a banana…

I love quirky, mind grabbing ways to teach seemingly complicated concepts so if you guys out there have some interesting ideas you are willing to share please leave a comment 🙂

However, I am also fascinated by thorough, well researched information about equine biomechanics and straightness training so if you are too I recommend these two great articles with some videos:

Article 1 with Videoshttp://forageplus.co.uk/reaseheath-college-dr-kerry-ridgway-lecture/

Article 2 about Manifestations of Laterality in Horseshttp://forageplus.co.uk/manifestations-of-laterality-dr-kerry-ridgway/

How much attention do you pay to straightness training when you ride or teach? Please share your views 🙂

Until next time!


2 thoughts on “Who put a banana inside my horse?!”

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