Riding your pony isn’t the only way to exercise him, and I love doing groundwork because it’s great fun and has loads of benefits, too. It’ll help make your pony more polite to handle, adds variety to his exercise regime and it’s a great way to build a super-close bond with him. You’ll even find that the in-hand schooling you do with him will improve his ridden work, too!
What you’ll need
I lead Mickey in his normal headcollar, but you can use a bridle if you need a bit of extra control. As always, safety’s important, so you should wear your riding hat and gloves, and boots that’ll protect your feet but are easy to move around in.
Exercise: Supple up
I like to do exercises that help keep Mickey supple, and weaving in and out of bending poles is great for this. Set them approx 6.4m apart and begin in walk, but up the pace to trot if you’re feeling confident! Another way to work on your pony’s suppleness is to use the poles to help you perform a serpentine. So, walk in a straight line between the first two poles, make a smooth curve to the right and go between the second and third poles. Then curve to the left and head straight.
Going for an in-hand walk is a great warm-up or cool-down, before or after doing groundwork in the school.
To get all of This Esme’s in hand exercises, get your copy of October PONY out now.