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Groundwork with your horse: useful exercises | MHS Equestrian

To prepare for the heavier work you can use groundwork to prepare your horse and train the right muscles. Groundwork consists of basic and advanced exercises. In this article, some basic exercises are highlighted, so that you can get along well with your horse.

Groundwork basic exercises

As a leader, your horse must learn that you are the boss. Guiding exercises come in handy here. Lead is about having your horse follow what you are doing, without getting too close to you. Make sure that you are in an enclosed space, for example in the arena and detach the lead rope from the halter.

Walk diagonally in front of your horse. The intention is for your horse to follow you on the basis of respect and trust. If your horse does not come along or catches up with you, turn around and walk 180 degrees the other way. Is your horse intrusive? Then make room by swinging the lead rope back and forth like a tail behind your back.

Just as important as lead

Halting is a good exercise. If you stop, your horse must do the same. Ultimately it is the intention that you perform this exercise with your back turned towards your horse. Does your horse not stop immediately? First practice this exercise with your face towards the horse. Keep about 2 to 3 meters away. Raise yourself and raise your hands.


In nature your horse has its head and neck in a high position when there is mental excitement. If your horse has its neck and head low, this is a sign of relaxation. Ask your horse to lower its head by applying light pressure behind the ears. You do this with the help of a halter or longeing cavesson. Does your horse lower his head? Then take the pressure off and reward your horse.

Difficult and easy side

Every horse naturally has a "difficult" and "easy" side. This is because the muscles on one side are shorter. By training you make the muscles of your horse flexible and stronger. For example, you can let your horse step on the volte. Ask for a statement to stretch the muscles on the outside of the neck. The muscles must contract on the inside of the neck. At the same time, ask the head downwards to let the back muscles relax and contract the abdominal muscles.

The purpose of groundwork

By doing groundwork with your horse you learn to obey your horse and to work with you motivated. You learn your horse to listen to the aids and thereby develop the necessary muscles. This way you can prepare your horse for lunging, work on the hand, riding and straightening in freedom.

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This text is translated by Google.

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