IMPROVING horse’s balance & way of going on a circle without gadgets – Video Case Study

Today I wanted to share some footage which we filmed on Thursday. It was a hot day but with a slight breeze and sun behind the clouds so we had less flies (and they can be massive!) to deal with. That was just as well seeing we had quite a few horses scheduled to film…

The footage in this post shows an older mare whose previous job was having babies and her breeder now wants her prepared for sale. She has good jumping papers and had been used for breeding show-jumpers.

I will call her Grey Mare. As you will see from the video below, her natural way of going is tense, hollow and crooked. The 6 min video footage shows clips from about 30 minutes in total and I hope it shows how with a little patience, feel and will you can start to achieve results which immediately make riding a horse much more pleasant for both the horse and rider.

Teaching your horse to move well on a circle can help with keeping him/her sound because it decreases the stress on spine, joints, muscles and ligaments the crookedly moving horse exerts on those structures. It will also save you many frustrating hours of “more inside leg, kick kick!” which is pretty pointless to any horse. Thanks to intelligent lunging  your horse will already know how to initiate the bend and you will be able to be much more subtle with your aids and seat.

If you have a horse that “motorbikes” around the corners and leans on one or the other shoulder struggling to bend, these sort of exercises can help a lot.

Here are two photos showing the shape of the Grey Mare on the circle before and after the exercises.

before and after

She is not in any way forced into the bend on the bottom photo, she is still on just a headcollar but she adjusts her body due to the body language of the trainer in the middle of the circle and her own feeling of comfort. She is able to respond to certain signals of her young trainer because she learnt the meaning of the movements earlier working in-hand. As a result, Magda is able to direct signals to her shoulders if she wants more weight on the mare’s outside shoulder, to her ribcage is she sees there is not enough bend in the mare’s body or to the inside hind leg is she needs more balance and self-carriage.

If you are not sure how to “read” the above photos please comment below with questions and I am happy to describe what is happening there 🙂

Here is the Grey Mare’s footage. Any comments welcome and I hope this sort of videos are interesting to watch, any feedback appreciated.

P.S. In the background you can see Estima being gotten ready for her session. Her videos will come up as soon as I have the time to upload the large amount of video minutes!

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5 thoughts on “IMPROVING horse’s balance & way of going on a circle without gadgets – Video Case Study

  1. Wow, that’s amazing how much difference it made in just that one session! I have brought a couple of brood mares back into work and found them to be incredible stiff through the rib cage and back. Did a lot of similar work but ridden, never thought to try it in hand! Look forward to seeing Estima’s latest video 🙂

    • This mare was such a pleasure to work with and so responsive. There is another one, a 14 year old that moves like a dream but my camera’s battery died as she was the last one we did!
      Her immediate reaction to any abdominal squeeze (for back lifting) was to tense her back into a brick so you know that any leg aid is going to cause similar reaction. I did some back lifts with her (by putting fingers into girth area) and after 5-6 times she lifted the back and contracted the abdominal muscles. Then we moved on to similar exercises as with the Grey Mare and wow, the granny was floating!!

      Estima is the worst of them all which is why she is the title girl 😉 She had a racing accident which left her right hind leg and sacroiliac area rather un-athletic to say gently. Her videos are coming soon but I wanted to show the Grey Mare first. This work is relatively easy, fabulous for developing rider’s feel and makes life so much comfortable for the horse 🙂 Got to love the broodies 🙂

  2. Great video. I haven’t ever done leg yeilding in hand but I can see what a difference it made to ‘grey mare’ donut def worth a try. I can see the benefits for the trainer of seeing the horse move from the ground before trying to ride the movement also. Mack gets stuck in ridden leg yield at times so I’ll def give this a try.

    • 🙂
      Would be great to hear how it went. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t seem as easy as it looks on the video, Magda has been practising for a few weeks now with other horses as well as having my instruction (muted on the video). It can get a little messy at first try 🙂 I was pondering on only putting this up when both trainer and horse do it well but decided it’s useful to see the first stages.
      Good luck 🙂

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