To cut a long story short, it’s a year later. I’ve been practicing what I learnt, with the help of my trainer at home. To her and my surprise, my previously unsound mare has gone from strength to strength. She now works in walk and trot on both reins evenly without hesitation. Working in hand has improved my contact when riding and I have a far more sensitive feel. Pendragon my extremely talented but lazy warmblood, has suddenly become easier off the leg. For the first time in ten years he has truly started lifting his back and carrying himself properly. This has resulted in the improvement of his top line, as well as his straightness and balance. He now shows great freedom of movement and truly pushes from behind. If you ask me, its because he knows the energy won’t be blocked in front.
Lina with her Mare
In hand is not exactly easy and at times it’s quite confusing. Nuno is wonderful at breaking up a concept and teaching it in tiny steps until one ‘feels’ the correct way of applying it. If a certain explanation does not sink in, he finds another, until the penny drops.
Now that I look back, I realise just how many riding mistakes could have been avoided, if I had embraced working horses in hand years ago.
No trainer can explain correct feel and contact as well as a horse can show you himself, when you allow him to, when you work with him in hand.
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By Lina van der Merwe-Brabers
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