we get this question a lot. so here is the skinny on laterals (no forgetting shoulder-in which always comes before travers - or haunches in - half pass and renvers:
travers is your friend - it gets collection, and then extension. half pass and renvers are just versions of travers
shoulder in is the precursor - it engages the engines (the hind quarters) and lightens the forhand (feathering the brake and accelorator at the same time)
yielding the quarters in hand and leg yield are versions of shoulder in
shoulder in fixes most behaviour problems and straightens the horse, and brings the center of gravity back under the rider, raising the poll and sitting the butt down
travers, by bringing the hindquarters inward and underneath then lets you engage, collect and put the horse into action
shoulder in, leg yield and yielding the quarters, involve the head bent away from direction of travel and inside hind crossing
traver, half pass and renvers involve the head bent towards the direction of travel and outside hind leg crossing...
shoulder-in and its variants cannot be done enough, no matter what the horse's level of training
all complex work (changes, pirouettes, piaffe and passage as well as full extensions) are prepared by a form of travers first - we will explain this more later....
so learn your in hand shoulder in (four track) and travers horse boy people - you will prepare your horses to be AMAZING this way
and remember the in hand laterals can be taught long before the horse ever has a saddle on his back, so the building blocks for his later education are laid down very early, and avoid all sorts of confusion later on...
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