Top Tips from Veterinary Physio Amy Taylor

🏇🏻🚫 Things are getting tougher and I know a lot of you aren't able to ride at the minute due to yard restrictions or personal preference. Please don't despair and think all of your hard work will go to waste, I'm here to give you some tips and advice on things you can do when you're unable to ride.

This first post is dedicated to groundwork, that thing that we do with youngsters and then forget about once they're able to be ridden! Groundwork is an essential part of your horses education and should not be scoffed at. It's also a great way to get to know your horse!

🐎A few ideas for starting off: Get your horse walking with you! Too many times I see horses trailing behind or marching in front of their leader with no regard to personal space. Be aware of where your horse is when you're leading them, even if you're just walking them a few steps to tie them up. Your horse should walk shoulder to shoulder with you with enough space so not to tread on your toes or trip you up. 🐎A tip to teach your horse to lead well is to stop and start. Walk a few strides with you horse at your shoulder (if your horse is lazy carry a long whip) then ask them to halt. The idea is that they halt with you so for the first few goes when they halt ask them to step back a few strides.* *DO NOT CLICK! A click means forwards so clicking and asking a horse to step back makes no sense! Unless you have taught your horse that clicking means move back use the word "back" and gently push on their chest so they understand. I prefer to stand directly in front and move back with them until they understand to move back with just the voice command 🐎Once they have done this, stand in your original position (shoulder to shoulder) and after 2 seconds or so move on again. The horse should walk on when you ask, if they march on without you halt straight away and repeat until they listen. If they are lazy use your whip to encourage them to move forwards. The aim is for your horse to halt/walk on when you ask, once you achieve this reward them (you can give treats but I usually give a pat/scratch and tell them well done) and begin to halt without asking them to move back. If they stop listening, use your rein back to refocus them. 🐎Repeat this exercise for as long as you want to, horses tend to pick this up very easily but don't get complacent and let them revert back to old habits! 🐎To advance this exercise change the timing of your halts, don't let them anticipate your next move. Try adding in some turns around the forehand or haunches as a way to get them focusing on their feet too! I hope this gives you something to work with and I will be posting more ideas and exercises so keep an eye out 👀 Feel free to share this post and like Amy's page 🐎🐕💜

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