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Core engagement, what exercises can I do to improve it?

I often hear people coming to me about how to improve their horse’s core engagement or what exercises I would recommend to improve core engagement.

Both great questions and I love the fact that horse owners are thinking about specific areas of the body when it comes to training horses. We all know that the body moves and functions as one unit. It is one integrated, complicated but beautiful system to watch in action. I’m sure you have either felt or seen a horse moving with ease, balance and fluency. It is wonderful!

On the other hand, I am also sure that you have seen a horse looking uncomfortable and awkward through their entire body. If you are watching them, they could be motor biking around the arena, falling through the inside shoulder, their neck and head looking to the outside of the circle, their back looks stiff and almost resembles a plank and their hindquarters look like they are not attached! Does this sound familiar?

Where do we go from here?

How can we help that horse?

The good news is, the answer is really simple!

If you are riding a horse or working a horse inhand and they are showing any of the signs above, we need to break it down. In order to regain balance, strength and or flexibility we need to start at the beginning, we need to start with stability.

How do we achieve stability?

Stability comes from awareness and proprioception. Ask yourself the following questions:

🤷‍♀️ Is my horse aware of each limb?

🐴 When I pick up any leg, can he/ she balance on 3 legs? Do they feel heavy? Do they try and fall on me?

🤷‍♀️ Does my horse trip?

🐴 When we do any form of pole work, does he/ she knock the poles?

How did you get on with the exercise above?

Our horse’s are always communicating with us and I believe that it is our job to listen and watch their behaviours to figure out what they are saying.

There are simple and practical exercises we can do with our horse on a daily basis to improve their stability and awareness AND THE GREAT NEWS IS THAT WE ARE PROBABLY DOING MANY OF THEM ALREADY.

These exercises include:

✅ Activations

✅ Baited exercises

If you want more specific exercises; please click on the links below:

Heal Your Horse: an online platform to improve and strengthen your horse’s posture.

Free education page on my website. This has a variety of exercises you can do with your horse.

So how does this all relate to exercises to improve the core engagement?

Well, once you have stability and awareness, the rest just falls into place. Yes, you need  to clarify what discipline you are going to be doing. And for those of you that think “I’m just a happy hacker”, that is still a discipline!! Your horse will need stability and awareness when hacking.

Core engagement is simple when your horse is stable through their posture and aware of their limbs and body.

If you want to find out more information or you have a burning question related to your horse, please email me on:

Also, I have a webinar on Groundwork for Horses in less than 2 weeks!

🙌🏻 20th March 2023

⌚️ 18:15pm

🐴 Via zoom Live Q&A


When you purchase a ticket, you will be entered into a PRIZE worth over £299!!!

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