I used to hate lateral work, I found it tedious and a means to the end. Go side ways, move this or that,
It wasn't until very recently (read: four weeks ago) that I really began to understand and find it useful beyond making whoever obedient to the leg.
Yes, prior to that I was sufficiently nagged to include more lateral work, and I did to some success. But, it was the same old thing.
After Alfredo's clinic, I caved in and started warming up in lateral work, not because I thought it was particularly useful at the time, but the way he related it to me made sense.
Basically long straight lines are served as cardio, they do warm the horse up, but not as thoroughly as it could get. The purpose of a warmup, as explained, is (along with several other reasons) is to mentally click the horse in, create a better balance and create flexibility.
I used to think a few laps around the arena and let the movements do the work, and we have liftoff. Until over four weeks ago, I was comfortably ok with this scenario and then I was introduced to this new way and perspective shifted.
The work is very basic, specifically shoulder in, haunches in on 20 meters (and variations on it). Different horse entirely, different human too.
I added in using the deep corners and making a working pirouette out of them. Part of this was for the horses, the other part was for me to make sure I was using my body in an effective way. Either way it's a neat exercise.
Push forward a few weeks, everyone was warming up more and more uphill, and mentally clicking into the work faster. I started building on the corner exercise again in regular work after I saw old tape of another rider. After the corner pirouette, I start to add in the half steps and pseudo-passage.
The ponies picked up on this way too well, and upcoming dressage competitions (I think we're out of the NDPC, because USPS decided to do naughty things) I've started to downgrade a lot of the new material.