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Under saddle:
enjoy a good ride with your horse

The riding exercises with a horse imply to get the feel and set the cues that will let you enjoy every ride, without fear, without discomfort either for the horse or yourself.

“It’s a rhythm, a harmony—you want your body and his body to become one.”
Under Saddle | Natural Horsemanship
Ray Hunt
Think Harmony With Horses
Basics, then more

Two sets of exercises

Tip: I always start my sessions by five minutes of groundwork. Horses are just like us humans: Their mood can change one day from the other, and I bet you would rather like to notice your horse is in bad mood from the ground than from above his head after a good buck!

The following exercises are presented in order of difficulty for the horse (or should I say for the rider).

Yet, always keep in mind that you should adapt this program to your horse, and to his needs.

The first set of four exercises is designed to build the basics of horseback riding, as you need to control the speed of your horse, to be able to move forward or to stop whenever you deem it necessary.

The second set of two exercises is designed to control the direction, to make sure you are the captain onboard, and your horse waits for you.


Under Saddle | Natural Horsemanship

Seat Stop

First, the horse should flex the head lightly and softly. Using this one-rein stop, we teach the horse to stop when simply switching from position one or two to three.

Soft Feel

As soon as you feel safe and comfortable with your horse, the soft feel is a key to shape and build the horse’s body. Plus, it will help you save money: No more gimmicks!

Untracking the Hind

You will use three methods to make the horse yielding his hindquarters to your leg, to your hand, and eventually to your feeling: Flexing the head and pushing with the leg, Soft Feel and the leg, and leg yield only.

Walk, Trot & Canter

This exercise is designed to teach the horse how to respond to our cues to walk, jog and canter smoothly. We will look for nice transitions, regular gaits and straight moves.


The objective is to split the weight of your horse equally on each quarter, working his balance. First, the short serpentine to find rhythm, then the open serpentine to find harmony and feel.

Moving the Front

The goal is to yield the hindquarters first, then to move the front legs through. Eventually, your legs will be enough to move the front end around, pivoting on the hind.

Once you have been able to perform all this with your horse, some of you may not wish to go further, and will rather enjoy riding and maintaining that good level of horsemanship.

That is okay, as it can be pretty hard, and time consuming to achieve such a program.

For those who want to go further, it is possible too.

There are a lot more exercises that will help you to fine-tune with your horse.

Tip: I gradually get the horse used to new environments and situations. Always start to work in a safe environment (indoor and closed arena), then move to a round-pen or an outdoor arena, next ride a few hundred metres on the road down the arena… And here you go!

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