The 5 elements
Groundwork, Longeing, Work in hand, Riding & Liberty
The 5 elements
In my training I like to combine the different elements of Groundwork, Longeing, Work in hand, Riding and Liberty. Sometimes all of them add onto each other, support each other and are often a puzzle piece into the next step.
Analyzing and understanding the situation and the horse, are the base for selecting the individual tools with the aim of building up a positive environment working together in harmony.
Liberty / Horsemanship
When I approach a horse for the first time, I check-in asking how the horse is doing by having an open mind and calm and relaxed body language. By only listening and observing the horses first, just being together instead of doing and manipulating them, we can learn so much from them and often the connection comes as a bonus when reading and seeing them as they are.
Then performing and moving in a healthy way at Liberty can be fun for both.
Is a good starting point especially for young horses, when introducing the aids through tools such as cavesson, whip, or rein from the ground. Groundwork can be a good alternative for ridden horses but also for rehabilitation horses who should come back into training. Especially if the horse should not be ridden yet but should develop muscles and coordination first.
Another aspect of working from the ground could be that the rider does not want to ride for certain reasons. Then this is totally fine as there is so much more to find out and do from the ground. No matter what, you will have fun being together accomplishing a healthy way of moving your horse.
Is another great element in our toolbox where we can build up muscles, coordination and endurance because your horse learned already in Groundwork to move in balance, with an equal bending through his body, a correct stelling in front and proper stepping under of the inside hind leg towards the center of mass. Side reins or any other tools to bring the horse in a balanced shape are obsolete as they will only address the symptoms but not cure the cause (natural asymmetry).
Work in Hand
Here the horse learns the meaning of the inside and outside rein aids (direct & indirect), which is a good preparation for the ridden work. Every exercise can be taught from the ground first and can be transported later into riding. The benefit of it is that the horse is already familiar with the movements and exercises.
The difference compared to the Groundwork is the way we hold and guide the reins. In Groundwork the rein is attached in the middle ring of the cavesson, which has a direct influence on the nose/head. In Work in Hand the reins are attached either on the sides of the cavesson or under the chin (bosal style) or we simply use a bit with two or four reins as in riding.
„A horse is poetry in motion“.
We can apply and implement everything we have worked out from the ground. Riding will automatically get better as we have steadily worked on our relationship and the horse’s natural asymmetry to bring it into balance. In order to develop harmony and lightness, it is necessary to continuously learn and work on oneself, in one’s own abilities and knowledge.