In-Hand, Lunging and Groundwork
In-Hand, Lunging and Groundwork
I cannot stress enough how valuable good groundwork is for your horse's wellbeing. In-hand work is an art that takes time to perfect but is a valuable asset to every single horse and rider.
- Improves cadence and the horse’s own natural balance
- Builds trust and confidence between horse and rider
- Can aid/eradicate handling issues
- Improves communication and aids, using body language, voice commands and breathing
- Gives the rider the opportunity to see how the aids alter the gait/way of going
- Enables the rider to control the energy and collect/extension the strides
- Improves rhythm in the gaits
- Good way to perfect transitions if your horse is too sharp or too lazy.
- Fantastic way of tackling any fears/phobias your horse may have e.g. water, ditches, napping etc… Most riding issues can be helped (if not solved) from the ground.
- Allows the horse to work freely, without the saddle and rider.
- Good exercise for the rider too...
A skilful handler can use groundwork to encourage the horse to lift and engage the back muscles, lighten the weight off the forehand and push from behind, whilst maintaining balance and cadence.
A good groundwork plan can successfully train or re-train the following horses:
- Rehabilitation from injury
- Other rehabilitation schooling (i.e. kissing spine)
- Young/green horses
- Nappy horses
- Head strong horses / heavy on the forehand
- Stiff horses who need help suppling
- Unbalanced horses (struggle with corners)
- Overly exuberant horses
- Lazy horses
- Sharp horses who are challenging to ride
- Untrusting horses
- And so many more ridden and non-ridden horses.
Katie does not like to use any training aids when lunging or carrying out groundwork, other than a simple cavesson, lunge line and cane. The horse needs to be able to move his head up and down, left and right in order to balance, and at the end of the day we want to encourage and refine their natural balance. Most training/lunging aids restrict the horses head and neck movement which hinders their natural balance and often encourages the horse to hollow more than they encourage them to engage.
The most common issue Katie sees when observing horses being lunged and ridden is a hollow back, with horses of varying head positions. Please do not be fooled into thinking that a horse with it’s head down is engaged through his back. A hollow back reduces mobility of the neck, spine and legs, altering the horse’s gait, as well as their physical and mental health.
These issues must be addressed to prevent injury and suffering to our beloved horses, We, as horse owners, have the power to make our horses happy, healthy creatures and we should be doing everything within our power to improve their wellbeing. Groundwork is the place to start correcting these problems.
Katie provides groundwork and ridden lessons for all horses and riders of all abilities, no matter what your ambitions.
If you would like help creating a groundwork plan for you and your horse please get in touch. We can create a solely groundwork plan or incorporate it into your ridden routine.