Project Description

Work In Hand

Is truly valuable, everyone who owns a horse should include it in their regime even if they only learn the foundations.

Through the various horsemanship techniques out there that have grown in popularity this has raised the awareness of working/training with your horse from the ground. None of this is new, just sadly had become a little lost along the way, this is also clear with tack, horse management etc. This is where I find it really fascinating as most things available or portrayed as new have actually been done before through history.

There are variations of Work In Hand and I think its good to try them and see which you and your horse feel most comfortable with, or of course combine them all.

Benefits of Work In Hand:

  • Gains trust, confidence and obedience
  • Prepares understanding of aids without the weight of the rider
  • Strengthens muscles, improves symmetry and balance
  • Improves coordination
  • You are able to observe the horse precisely and make refined corrections
  • Develops self carriage
  • Adds variety to your sessions
  • Prepares the horse for riding
  • Enables continuity of work if the horse is injured and not able to be ridden
  • Enables continuity of work if the rider is out of action
  • Makes lessons easier for the horse
  • Educates the rider

Iberian School Work In Hand Equipment

  • Bridle
  • Schooling whip

Viennese School Work In Hand Equipment

  • Lunge cavasson
  • Bridle or bit to attach to the lunge cavasson
  • Reins to lead
  • Lunge roller or saddle
  • Side reins
  • Lunge rein for when necessary


  • Body language and internal energy
  • Voice
  • Whip
  • Rein

Essentials before you start your first session:

  • Ensure your horse is relaxed with the use of the whip
  • Practice walking backwards on your own in the manege before you include your horse in the scenario and ensure you are spatially aware.

First position

Stand parallel between your horses muzzle and shoulder facing the rear of your horse. Rest your elbows at your sides.

The Halt – Place the whip against the horses crest pointing up to the sky, this is a useful aid that your horse will learn to associate as halt with your voice and meeting passive resistance.

Volte – Bend your horse a little towards you. Allowing him to stretch forward and down. Use your voice to ask your horse to move at the same time as touching your whip against your horses side where your leg would be if you were riding, ensure you maintain the bend.

The aim is for your horse to step away and forwards laterally so the nearside front leg steps across and in front of the offside front leg and the inside hind leg steps under your horses belly in front of the off side hind leg, taking its weight onto the inside hind leg.

As soon as your horse offers a slight movement away from you even if they don’t take an actual step reward them if they have tried. Keep repeating this process until your horse understands.

You can continue with this work progressing into different exercises and lateral movements which in turn will develop your horse gymnastically. It is so rewarding seeing your horse work with you and progress.

Written by Sam Jamieson © 2015