Thursday, January 15, 2009

Travers and Renvers; Sorry, which one is which?

Okay, I'm lucky to do the odd shoulder-in (and they usually are odd), I can't be bothered to remember the difference between the travers and the renvers. Fortunately there are videos to help us out..

Travers (haunches inside track, shoulder outside track)

Renvers (haunches outside track, shoulder inside track)

Horses have a tendency to travel with haunches to the inside anyway, and some trainers maintain that travers encourages crookedness. Renvers provides all the benefits of travers without the drawbacks.

Why is there no shoulder out???
Well, actually there is, but it's called counter-shoulder-in, or at the barns I rode at, counter bend. On a straight line there is no difference in benefits of shoulder in and counter shoulder in. When you work on a circle, the benefits are quite different. Shoulder-in on a circle develops the haunch, loosening the stifle and hock. In contrast, counter-shoulder-in develops the shoulder, opening the chest and loosening the elbow.

Info on counter-shoulder-in from:

By Mark Russell, Andrea W. Steele
Published by Globe Pequot, 2007
ISBN 1599210711, 9781599210711
184 pages


  1. Great post on a mystifying topic. And what a cute horse, oh my word!

  2. It never ceases to amaze what horses will do for us. The horse looks like a Khnabstrupper.

  3. I'm sorry, I hate to be snarky, but i have to speak up. I'm kind of a stickler for correctness in the exercises. :-) If you don't have the correct definition of an exercise, then you can't do it correctly and if you can't do it correctly then you won't be getting the desired benefit. In this case, collection.

    In travers and renvers the haunches move OFF the track (either in or out) but the shoulders stay ON the track, resulting in a three track movement.

    For travers, the inside hind leg will travel slightly to the inside of the track. The inside fore will travel in the same track as the outside hind (the middle track), and the outside fore travels on it's own track on the outside.

    Renvers, the outside hind will be in it's own track on the outside. Outside fore and inside hind will be together on the middle track and the Inside fore is alone on the inner track.

    OK, off my soap box. :-)

  4. Ok, sorry, I'm back on my soap box. In the renvers demo, first the ride positions the horse in a shoulder-in THEN he changes the bend, as though that's going to make it a renvers. No!

    First, you make sure the horse is traveling straight down the long side, then, bend to the outside and ask for the hindquarters to move to the outside. The shoulders should stay ON the track.

    I'm sorry, it just makes me crazy. If you're going to post demos, please use correct ones! :-)

    I'll shut up now. I promise. :-)

  5. I don't think my post actually *defined* the exercise in that level of detail, unless you mean the shorthand header above each video, which I admit was casually written, but it did paraphrase the book listed at the end.

    I think you are saying that the inside and outside track are defined by the position of the horse, not where they are in relation to the arena.

    You may also be referring to the execution of the renvers, which looks to be on four tracks.

    Or you may be referring to both? Or neither!

    At any rate, thank you for the response.

  6. "If you're going to post demos, please use correct ones! :-)"

    But the horse in these videos is waaaay cool! Dot was my reasoning. Heh heh.

  7. I'm referring to all of it. The title of the videos say "Travers (haunches inside track,shoulder outside track). Travers does indeed have the haunches come inside the track, but the shoulders stay square on the track--they don't go outside the track. Same for the title of the renvers video, the haunches move to the outside of the track but the shoulders stay on the track, they don't move to the inside.

    The execution of the movements is also incorrect, he's doing a 4 track, not a 3-track.

    OK, the horse is cool, but post him under cool horses doing unknown movements. ;-)

  8. AnneL; "OK, the horse is cool, but post him under cool horses doing unknown movements. ;-)"

    Stacey: (smiles and nods in acknowledgement)

  9. I agree with AnnL. The horse is cool, but the movement is incorrect. Probably why, when you watch him and his horse in other videos, the canter has no moment of suspension, among other issues. ;)

  10. very cool horse, but i'm agreeing with annl and dij - he is at best performing a half-pass along the wall in two directions.

    i know dressage people love to do these, but i'm going to go against the dressage orthodoxy and say i don't think either of these movements are especially important in preparing a 'finished' horse, as one can usually accomplish the same long-term effect with, as you say, variations of shoulder-in/counter bend and half-pass. you need them to compete in dressage at the higher levels, but i wouldn't bother doing them much with, say, a jumper, despite the fact that being able to place the shoulders and haunches precisely in a turn matters more when jumping a course at speed than in a dressage arena, but i'll get off my soapbox now too ;-)

    i get the two terms confused as well, so i try to remember -

    travers='tail in'
    renvers='rump out'

    not very scientific, and hardly good definitions of the movements, but it helps me keep them straight in my head ;-)

  11. Thank you JME! I have been looking for a quick shorthand to remember the two terms... sadly, French is not among my languages >;^p


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