A Simple Yet Powerful Exercise

In this video, I share a very simple yet powerful relaxation and engagement exercise for your horse. Enjoy!


Heh, It’s Barb,

And I just finished… just a couple of hours ago, four days of about an hour and a half a day… live and online series about using this unexpected down time to get you and your horse ready to show when the shows start again.

It was great fun!

Two things I love about doing clinics and webinars… and just teaching in general… are: 1) fun times with people, 2) how much I always learn. Plus, I’m always reminded of powerful, powerful… yet often simple… basics.

One of the things I’m sharing with you in this video is a simple exercise that can promote calmness and quietness in your horse and at the same time get your horse engaged with you.

This exercise is perfect for if you’re getting ready to walk into the show arena for focus and calmness.

It’s also a great exercise if you do it repeatedly at home and your horse associates it with being quiet and relaxed.

Then when you get in a ‘frightening’ environment, you can use this as a go-to exercise to bring your horse back to you, and get him calm again.

Here’s how it works.

I have a snaffle on Nic. My hands are separated and low.

We walk in about a 15-20-foot circle with his nose slightly bent to the inside. My ‘off-side’ hand does not come across midline.

I use my legs to guide him and keep him slightly ‘curved’ to the inside.

As we walk, I ask him for short intervals of more flexion toward the inside of the circle. The moment I feel him ‘give softly’ to the rein pressure, I release my pressure on the rein and continue walking in the circle.

As he relaxes his head drops. That’s a good thing and indicates increased relaxation.

Repeat in the other direction.

With repetition and time, your horse will come to know this as a relaxation exercise, yet he will be very willing and attentive to you.

Enjoy! I hope it’s a good resource tool for both you and your horse.

Have a great week. Please leave a comment.

Maybe you have an exercise like this that you do to relax your horse and bring his attention back to you. Let us know about it!

I always love hearing from you.


Print This Post Print This Post    Email This Post Email This Post   


12 Comments on A Simple Yet Powerful Exercise

  1. Pam Nielander on Sun, 26th Apr 2020 1:52 pm
  2. Just working on this and reviewing some basics with a trainer last week.

    Also loved the 4 day webinar last week!

    Thank you

  3. Cindy Newell on Sun, 26th Apr 2020 2:53 pm
  4. When my trainer rides and warms up my horse sometimes, she will say that it took longer because my horse didn’t want to give his right jaw. Maybe this is the remedy for it?

  5. kathy on Sun, 26th Apr 2020 4:35 pm
  6. Always the greatest information on how to “speak” with our horses. You’re the best.

  7. Sheila Daniel's Garner on Sun, 26th Apr 2020 4:38 pm
  8. Love all you tips. I show cutting horses and any tips you have on approaching the herd would be helpful.

  9. Carol MacGregor on Sun, 26th Apr 2020 5:58 pm
  10. Hi Barb, Yes, that sure looks like a very relaxing exercise for the horse and rider. I do a tighter version of that exercise as a good warm up exercise to lengthen the muscles of the outside of the horse and contract the inside muscles going both directions to get them listening and softening. I always enjoy seeing you on your pretty horse Nic. 😉

  11. Camille Abbott on Sun, 26th Apr 2020 7:30 pm
  12. Love the 4 lesson webinar last week. This exercise is one I wanted to remember so I am glad you posted this. One question: you have your horse in a snaffle. Since i typically ride in a shank bit, I am assuming this works with a shank as well?

  13. Pam on Sun, 26th Apr 2020 8:39 pm
  14. Thanks again for your great instructions. I will definitely use this exercise both for me and my horse. Any help or suggestions you give are greatly appreciated……. and my mare thanks you also
    Stay healthy and have a great week

  15. Laurie Swafford on Sun, 26th Apr 2020 10:16 pm
  16. Thank you, I will try this exercise with tequila. It will be good for her. Laurie

  17. Harolyn Deason on Mon, 27th Apr 2020 8:47 am
  18. I love this exercise. When I first began riding performance horses a trainer taught me this. For a horse that was anxious and it helped her to relax and for a high headed horse that needed to give to the bit and learn to bend. She taught me to release the millisecond I felt the horse give. What a great tool it’s been. Horsemanship!!! Thanks for always reminding us.

  19. Karen on Mon, 27th Apr 2020 4:59 pm
  20. Love this exercise. I do one with my reactive mare that when she gets too fast or panicky, I bring her back down to a walk and then just work her off of my leg pressure and no reins. We do serpentines, diaganols, circle and straight lines. Pretty soon I can feel her body chill and I’ll hear her play with the roller in her bit just a teeny bit, then I know she’s ready to go back to work.

  21. Belinda on Mon, 27th Apr 2020 5:15 pm
  22. Love love love! Duke and I will start doing this tomorrow! Thank you so much!!!🌷💕🌷💕

  23. Claire and Feather! on Mon, 27th Apr 2020 6:41 pm
  24. Thanks for demonstrating that! I do a lot of wee circles and patterns around bushes and backs and forths-but I never thought about asking additional flexion.
    I’m so envious of your nice long riding legs! 🙂
    Nic-as always is a great video trooper.
    Blessings on your week!

Tell me what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.