Getting Started with In-Hand Work: Leading with Connection

In-hand work includes teaching collection and lateral exercises from a leading position, both at liberty and with a lead rope. So, step one is ensuring that your horse leads well (this is often missed and causes lots of in-hand work problems!).

Leading with connection means that you and your horse are walking together, staying in communication with each other through movement. Firstly, we teach the horses to walk calmly by our side and then build the leading to changes of pace, direction, bending and going straight. They sound deceptively easy but don’t miss this step as many horses actually struggle to stand still, walk with you and turn easily – this is your foundation before moving onto more advanced exercises like shoulder-in or haunches-in, so take the time to get it right.

Find out how to get connected with your horse through leading and how it forms the foundation of in-hand work in this video:

Watch the full Gymnastic Groundwork Demo series here:

P1: Getting Started with In-Hand Work: Leading with Connection 

P2: In-Hand Work: How to Start Lateral Flexions and Shoulders & Quarters Over Using Clicker Training 

P3: In-Hand Work: Teaching Lateral Movements with Clicker Training 

P4: Pole Exercises for Confidence, Body Awareness and Strength


➤ WANT TO LEARN MORE? In the CT Club, you can find a full step-by-step progressive programme for connecting with your horse, overcoming leading issues and teaching in-hand work to your horse, from this stage right up to shoulder-in, haunches-in and collected work. The CT Club is our online membership site with hundreds of video tutorials and support through our forum, Q&A, Training Journals and more! Check it out and sign up here. We look forward to seeing you there 🙂

➤ You can also find out more in the #1 bestselling Connection Training BOOK 📖 Get it on Amazon (search for ‘Connection Training’) or download Chapter 1 free here: 👀

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2 thoughts on “Getting Started with In-Hand Work: Leading with Connection”

  1. This is clearly not the first time that this horse has been led. Would be useful to show / see the first few attempts to lead the young horse and how to explain clearly to the pony about personal space.

  2. Hi Jane, thanks for getting in touch. This video was more about refining leading for in-hand work. If you want to find out more about teaching young horses to lead or overcoming leading issues, check out these videos: and

    In the CT Club, we have step-by-step tutorials on teaching leading, from the first steps, to overcoming leading issues such as pulling, barging and planting, so if you want in-depth info, please check it out:

    All the best, Hannah

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