Here, Manolo is working in-hand and getting a feel for the horse – how straight and supple it is, how evenly it can move its body on straight and bended lines, and how comfortably and well it can flex its hips and hind leg joints.
After a bit of work, you can see Manolo checking the horse’s footfalls carefully (bottom left pic) while asking the horse to lower his neck (nose in front of vertical/open throat latch) and walk slowly with deliberate steps. He finishes the session with a companionable walk and a pat.
When looking at the footfalls at the walk on a straight line Manolo looks at where the hind feet land: into the fore feet print? Too close or across the midline? Outside the body? Does the feet land toe or heel first? Do they drag a little? Is one leg a little quicker than another? All this information will help him understand where the restrictions and opportunities are to help the horse move more freely and comfortably. He can test the feet placement and start influencing each step with his bamboo to gently begin enhancing or repairing movement.
In the top left and bottom right pics check the bamboo placement which helps keep the horse straight – not falling on the inside shoulder while activating the inside hind. Also look at where Manolo stands – on the outside of the bend.
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