Work at hand or groundwork makes the horse obey and cooperate with the rider. With groundwork exercises, the horse learns to respond to the aids and it develops proper muscles. This prepares the horse for longeing and riding. Groundwork is done using a cavesson and a lead rope or longeing line.
The line is attached to the middle ring of the cavesson. In this way, the young horse is easy to control, without harming/disturbing the mouth.
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Natural crookedness is a muscular problem that can be corrected by proper training. The circle is a very useful exercise to straighten a horse. A straight horse:
- Can bend equally to the left and to the right
- Can do all exercises to the left and to the right
- Can push and carry equally in both hind legs
While longeing the horse should learn the following exercises:
• Basic transitions such as walk-trot, trot-canter
• Speeding up and slowing down within a gait
• Transitions such as stop-trot, canter-walk
• Changing the lead through the circle (by making a S over the middle)
Longe frequently with the saddle. When the horse has mastered all these exercises and gained better fitness and muscles, the riding training can then begin.