Riding isn’t the only way you can exercise and school your fave pony! Check out our great ideas for spending quality time with him on the ground. They’ll help you build a stronger bond with him, and there are even ways to help keep him fit and improve his ridden work, too!
As PONY mag went to print, The British Equestrian Federation was urging people not to ride, to avoid putting extra pressure on hospitals during the coronavirus outbreak. This also means you shouldn’t do any other activity that puts you at a higher risk of injury. So, if your pony isn’t calm to handle, read these ideas now but don’t try them until it’s more appropriate to do so.
Always wear your riding hat and sturdy footwear that you can move around in easily when you’re doing groundwork with your pony. Pop a pair of gloves on to protect your hands, too.
- Lead the way
We spend loads more time with our ponies on the ground than when we’re riding them, so teaching your fave pony to be polite to lead and handle can make life much easier for you! In a safe, enclosed area, practise leading him and asking him to halt and walk on. Your aim is for him to respond as soon as you move forward or stop.
Also, see if you can encourage him to back up a step or two by applying light pressure on the leadrope and putting your hand on his chest. Then try asking him to move his quarters away from you, which is handy for when you want him to step over in the stable. To do this, stay by his shoulder, but turn to face his quarters and, holding the leadrope in one hand, use your other hand to gently gesture towards his ribcage to give him the signal to step across.
- Trot on
Being able to trot your pony in-hand is a useful skill to have. It means you’ll be able to trot him up for the vet or farrier, and you’ll really impress the judge if you compete in showing classes!
Start by making sure he has an active walk, then step forward into a jog while saying ‘trot on’. It might take a little bit of practice, but he should soon start reacting to your body language and making the transition without the voice command. After trotting for a few strides, come back to walk and make a smooth turn back. Remember to turn your pony away from you, but stay at his shoulder and guide him gently with the leadrope if you need to.
For more top in-hand exercises, get your copy of June PONY mag delivered direct to your door with free P&P, from 6 May 2020