Lounging work and Hand work
Whatever your horse’s age, everyone has to complete this level. In this phase we will introduce a new language to the horse, which will enable him to understand his rider. We create codes that are easily understandable to the horse so that he won’t feel lost every time we ask something new.
When dealing with a young horse (as of three and a half years of age), it is very important that this phase is done very calmly and with full respect for the animal. We should always bear in mind that the horse will begin a long journey and that the will be with him for the rest of his life. We can compare the horse to a child who begins school – it is important for the first experiences to be positive and enjoyable.
If we begin this method with an adult horse who already has some bases, then we must take certain factors into account, such as the respect the horse has for his rider, or the horse’s nature and temperament. Only after analysing these traits can we define a model with which to initiate the method.
This initial stage has 3 phases
– Phase 1 Lounging work
– Phase 2 Lounging work with side reins
– Phase 3 Hand work
These 3 phases will help us to introduce a language that makes it easier for horse and rider to communicate, will improve the horse’s rhythm and balance in the 3 gaits, will develop a perfect contact to improve the horse’s back, making it stronger and better capable of supporting the rider, will help to develop flexibility, a characteristic that is fundamental for the horse to become light and available.
Introducing the rider on horseback
Once the horse accepts the rider, we move on to work on horseback. A very important aspect is that horse learns and accepts the aids from the hand work to the rider’s legs aids.
This phase requires the help of a second person, so the horse can better understand what is asked of him.
Depending on the horse’s age and the level of teaching he has, there are several base exercises that need to be addressed, in walk, trot and canter.
In this phase we focus mostly on walk and trot, and don’t go too deep into canter yet.
The horse will acquire basic work knowledge. Circles, straight lines, shoulder in, shoulder out, leg hill, etc…
The importance of the bridle
We now arrive at the phase where the progression of the work is sometimes blocked by the tension crated in the horse’s nape and jaw.
When should we transition to a double bridle?
How should this transition be made?
What is the ideal snaffle for your horse?
What are the ideal exercises for this purpose?