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The value of In-Hand Exercises for your horse

If you have followed me for a while, you will know how much I LOVE and RECOMMEND some non-ridden exercise for our horses! 

Whether horses are in rehabilitation, coming back into work, you are working on specific movements for competition, or you are working with a senior horse, or a horse with a previous injury...any of these horses will benefits from specific in hand exercises!! 

I have been working on In Hand Exercises with my own horse, as well as clients horses, for years, so know all of the in's and out's (so to speak!) of this work, and I absolutely LOVE IT! 


  • One rein stiffer than the other with your horse?
  • Your horse finds movements easier in one direction than the other
  • Possibly even holding their head and neck to the outside of the circle
  • Only bending through the ribcage in one direction
  • Uneven rein contact
  • More neck bend in one direction, less in the other
  • Can stretch down on one rein, but struggles on the other rein
  • Faster pace on one rein, slower on the other? 
  • Heavy and on the forehand
  • Difficult or complicated to ride / exercise?

I find that specific In Hand Exercise is extremely beneficial to add in as a layer of foundational training for our horses, and help you address all of the above. We can be working on so much with them, all at the same time, and some of the specific exercises that I use and teach, like backing up and shoulder-in are fantastic all round exercises for the horses body...if done correctly of course! 


  • Improve flexibility
  • Improve proprioception
  • Improve symmetry and equal use of body and limbs 
  • Retrain the crooked horse (they are ALL crooked..either left or right handed...) 
  • Improve horses movement 
  • Improve posture 
  • Improve core strength
  • Improve communication with your horse
  • Improve your relationship through this work 
  • Improve ridden work 

I always recommend some non-ridden work for clients horses, as continual ridden work can be detrimental to their body. Horses are not a good design for riding, so I really do believe that we need to be helping our 4 legged partners along, in whatever way that we can, to PREPARE them for exercise, not just assume that we can ride them. 

In Hand Exercises can be added into your routine with your horse, either 10 minutes daily, or 20-30 minutes several times a week, or even used a warm up to mobilise your horses body, prior to any other exercise. So it's all really versatile!

BUT it is still a bit of a mystery to most horse owners...what exercises to do, how to do them, how to use the exercises alongside ridden work, what it if goes wrong etc...And I totally understand (I was there in the beginning!), and I now love to support my clients in adding this work into their routine in a simplified way, and seeing the benefits develop over time! 

The way that I teach this work is in a blended way, so it's not just a set of exercises to 'bash through'...I teach in a way that helps you to see and feel what's ACTUALLY HAPPENING IN YOUR HORSES BODY. And the In Hand Exercises are really useful as diagnostics as well as improving your horse; you will learn where your horse is struggling in his body, and therefore be able to measure improvements! 

My new In Hand Exercise online course is now available, with an In Hand members group for those wanting additional ongoing help and support with the work. 


  • Step by step approach to in hand exercises 
  • The foundation exercises to master, as building blocks to the more advanced exercises 
  • Shoulder exercises to mobilise, equalise and strengthen the thoracic sling 
  • Hindquarter exercises to move the HQ's independently and train equal use of the hindlimbs 
  • Lateral exercises
  • Your body positioning and aiding

If you are interested, click through for more details: In Hand Exercises Online Course

It's quite detailed work, to get it right and effective, and that's why I put the course together, to explain and show you HOW to do the exercises for best results! 

If you have any questions or would like any more help, you can get in touch through the Contact page on the menu bar above. 

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