Healthy movement is key to a sound and happy horse. Engagement is part of healthy movement, necessary for keeping your horse sound and comfortable.
Our domestic horses get such limited movement, even with ample turnout, compared to their wild counterparts, that we need to help maintain their physical fitness through training. In order to train it, you need to know WHAT you’re training. These exercises are designed to help you feel it yourself – the best way to really understand what it is and how it can help your horse.
Engagement of the core and hind legs is important for ridden horses as they have the extra challenge of carrying weight on their backs. However, it’s also really beneficial to our non-ridden horses, too, who also often lack fitness and strength, leading to aches and pains as well as asymmetry and an increased chance of injury. A healthy, pain-free body, which is stable and strong, is such an important part of your horse’s well-being.
Training body and mind together is the best combination as they support each other. Teaching healthy movement through progressive exercises using positive reinforcement (clicker training) is a passion of mine. When the horse is part of the process of figuring out the exercise and absolutely loves her training sessions, you work together to improve engagement in a way that is fun for both of you.
I hope this video helps you to understand engagement a little more. Enjoy (and don’t forget to have a go yourself!)!
➣ If you’d like to find out more about my approach, I have a whole Gymnastic Groundwork online Course which takes you through it step-by-step, right from leading, so it’s perfect if this work is new to you and/or you want to know how to train it without forcing, boring or coercing your horse. You’ll learn how to use poles and obstacles, teach lunging in a positive way and build up to lateral work, such as shoulder-in and haunches-in, through in-hand work. All taught with positive reinforcement. From there, you can take the exercises into the saddle in the Riding with Connection Course, too. Come and join us in the CT Club!
➣ Want to know more? The #1 bestselling Connection Training BOOK is the place to start 📖 Get it on Amazon or download Chapter 1 free here for a preview 👀
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