Hand walking....in all the years of working with horses it was only about 3 years ago that this style of working with horses really came into my vocabulary. Yes of course with youngsters leading them out to see the “sights” was part of their progression but once the horse could be ridden it was then mostly about riding. Since though I’ve played more outside the so called “box” or even arena in hand work has become part of my horses play time, and you learn so much from it. A simple “dog walk” with the horses on the lead or off once you get their trust is a beautiful way to watch how they really take in their environment and what they find more worrying etc It’s a lovely way to connect with them without the pressure of riding and in my mind it demonstrates to the horse that their is more to your relationship than sitting on their back every time you want to do something. I also believe that if the horse is a bit spooky or fearful and that translates to the rider the best place to start is on the ground, building trust past the scary area or object whilst walking beside rather than trying to achieve this and stay on board causing potentially more issues along the way. As the partnership builds up confidence in lead work then this opens so many more options to the fun that can be had and the adventures that can be found when simply hacking may not be an option, and of course when riding isn’t an option then you can still play from the ground. This morning Saturn and I went for a wander around the farm, watching him take in new avenues, sights and smells, feeling how his energy changed and noticing mine too was an interesting half hour of connection. And the bonus was barley got a run too and I got some more walking in!!!