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.
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