Manolo Mendez

DVD Testimonials

“In this DVD, traditional dressage professor and in-hand expert Manolo Mendez takes students and horses through groundwork exercises in a clear and logical sequence. The communication, rapport and sensitivity of the horse, trainer and student is wonderfully maintained and respected at every moment. Simply put, this DVD is absolutely inspirational.”

Dr. Kerry J. Ridgway, DVM, Integrative Medicine, Equine Performance Specialist, retired FEI Judge and Endurance competitor, Author and Lecturer

“This DVD is brilliant. Manolo demonstrates in-hand techniques he has developed over time that can help any owner improve their horse with exercises designed for balance, coordination, lightness plus strengthened topline and joints.

It brings clarity to a subject that is rarely understood and combined with the (free) supporting online written material, will open new worlds for both horse and rider. Your horse will thank you!”

An update from Kim on 11/28/2013

“Once again I’d like to say how very impressed I am with the Manolo In Hand DVD and all this fabulous support presented on the FB page for those who have purchased it.

I am finally home from all the teaching, my gorgeous bamboo arrived, and I have begun working my 20 year old stallion using these principles. I find the bamboo to be a vast improvement over a whip. I can direct it so much better, and the touch can be varied with more finesse. Also, I find it more “alive”, and Gideon responds so much better.”

Kim Walnes, rider and trainer of Hall of fame inductee the Gray Goose, member of the USET 3 Day Eventing Team from 80-86, winner of Individual and Team Bronze Medals at the 82 World Championships and FEI dressage trainer.

“The DVD “IN-HAND LESSONS with MANOLO MENDEZ- An Introduction to working in-hand” is a definitive distillation of the many lessons I have watched or participated in starting in 2005. Manolo’s impeccable horsemanship skills are on display and with multiple viewings an observant handler will discover how Manolo uses his perfectionism of himself, attention to detail, and intuition to best train each horse as an individual. Over the years, I have identified various “ Manolo-isms”, two of which are on obvious display: the importance of POSTURE, and PATIENCE.

The DVD shows us how by first aligning the horse’s spine, and then using simple lateral in-hand exercises in slow motion, the horse’s back will supple from poll to tail. This results in increased relaxation, focus and longitudinal and lateral flexibility, with improved articulation of the joints. With posture pre-eminent in the handler’s mind, details of observation emerge regarding her horse’s asymmetries which might not be noticed while riding. Body and muscular observations are part of an excellent Q & A between Manolo and his student for this video, Jillian Kreinbring, in Ch. 11. The in-hand discoveries can then be transferred to the ridden horse for improved balance, stronger top line, and more expressive gaits.

On the longe , Manolo illustrates how our horse can be encouraged to stretch the neck and lift the top line without the balance interferences of a rider. Correct bend and rhythm can be developed. The posture of horses both young and older are shown benefitting from Manolo’s approach.

A “Manolo-ism” important for me is the lesson of patience. My 14 ½ year old Morgan gelding “Bini”, who I selected as a weanling, has a disposition similar to the Connemara stallion “Glenormiston Celtic Prince”. Watching Manolo patiently wait for the stallion to soften and choose to participate in the longeing lesson impressed upon me once again that respect and beauty never come from tension or force.

The session with “Romeo” reflected my own experience with a seldom handled, low to middle herd position Connemara gelding we adopted 6 years ago as a companion horse. “Tir Eoin’s” posture was universally defensive; he would pull away and run off at the slightest application of pressure, even from the halter while trying to lead. Because I knew and applied Manolo’s work, this large pony now is safe for hoof care, can be longed, led, tied, and loaded in the trailer, and was started under saddle ( Though I don’t recommend starting a 16 year old horse; too stiff!) His body has changed from inverted neck and visually very sway back ( high withers) to handsome with improved top line and core muscles. This was not an overnight transformation but took 3-4 years: slowly, carefully, gently, patient.

I was blessed by having discovered Manolo Mendez 8 years ago and afforded the opportunity to watch and ride many lessons in California. This DVD is a priceless addition to my written notes. I look forward to the next phase of “distance learning” that technology can offer, perhaps in the form of digital lessons.

I am indebted to Manolo Mendez for my evolution as a horsewoman. I am grateful to Caroline Larrouilh for producing this essential primer for starting and retraining all types of equine partners.”

Kate Schmidt-Hopper, www.

“Thank you for a wonderful DVD. The concepts are not new to me, however the gentle way that Manolo moves the horse around is the missing link. Previous, instruction in similar concepts have gone spectacularly awry because it was done with force. This has always gone against my instincts and therefore I have lacked conviction, then both I and the horse have ended first confused, then tentative and finally frightened. The next step from there is the horses trying to dominate which then gets dangerous. Finally I see a way to achieve what of always wanted from my groundwork without the confrontation and the ensuing downward spiral. I’m just waiting for my Serrat to arrive and we will start putting this into practice, I know already that we are all (4 horses) going to be making the first steps towards a great partnership. Thank goodness I have such generous horses who all seem willing to forgive my terrible mistake.”

Elinor Ireland

“I just received my video.I am thrilled with the way you have presented this info. I am a TTouch practitioner and very comfortable using our wand. Your bamboo although different is used with the same intention. I experimented with some of the variations that you showed on the video before I mounted up and then rode with the wand and used it in the same way from the saddle. Magic happened!! My horse understood the placement of the wand on her legs(as I always use the wand on her legs and all over her body)but it was the asking by tapping her legs from the saddle that brought an engagement that I have never felt. After a little practice she trotted off in a beautiful round engaged trot with barely any contact from the reins. I am in awe and thrilled at the same time.Yes other things have to be in place as well but this was the only thing I did differently. Thank you so much. I am telling everyone about your video. It was also so nice to see kindness and compassion promoted rather thatn just getting things done. I came to know about you thru TTouch and I certainly understand why. Thank you!”

Ava Eskin, TTouch Practitioner

“I have received my Manolo Mendez DVD! This is perfect timing for what I’m trying to learn with Archer!

This DVD is an introduction spanning different sessions and the body work session at the end is “icing on the cake”. Obviously a lot of care has gone into clarity. Manolo, a classical master, deftly uses a light bamboo pole and you can always see the exact placement. Everything is easy to see.

The video isn’t about rote exercises and the horses vary a lot. Instead of being professionally “romanticized” like some videos with soft focus,this managed to capture the feeling of a personal lesson with Manolo. The questions that Jillian, his student ask are just perfect (and in captions) and Manolo has great answers. It is a pleasure to watch how he works with Jillian – one reason why the DVD is so engaging. I was impressed because the progress being made by Jillian and the horses was just so obvious. At the end of each session, the horses were going much better, looking great and were visibly more relaxed as they responded to increasingly clear instruction.

I’m feeling a lot more comfortable about how to start doing in-hand work and I’m excited to go try these techniques with Arch! I highly recommend this unusual video, it’s all about working to improve your horses beauty and strength and work with respect for the horse, this philosophy makes perfect sense as Manolo clearly illustrates the in-hand concepts.”

Diane Schell, Artist

“In watching the Manolo Mendez videos and observing the manner in which Manolo handles horses (and teaches the handling), I am struck by how much understanding, compassion and from-the-heart engagement with the horse Manolo demonstrates. That he has a lifetime of equestrian experience is understood, but all trainers end up with experience after decades. How many end up the level of tact, diplomacy and appreciation for the horse, what it needs and how it learns that Manolo has is another question completely.

Quite frankly, I can’t think of anyone I’ve seen who trains and instructs with such a coherently “for the horse” approach. A particularly interesting aspect is how Manolo teaches the student how to look for signs of stiffness or resistance in the horse that will interfere with the horse’s balance and carriage, and cause him to lose any developing suppleness and rhythm. He explains and demonstrates something else that is critical…how to help the horse have forward movement but still carry himself correctly…and why it is so important to teach the horse different speeds in each gait…so he doesn’t tire of one position or speed. If he tires, he gets stiff, and Manolo watches like an eagle for any sign of stiffness to protect the horse from discomfort and also discouragement.

His gentle, friendly and supportive manner with horses just reminds me again how the typical handler/rider/trainer/instructor works from a dominance paradigm, whether conscious or unconscious. Manolo’s level of investment in the horse’s confidence and pleasure in his training and his trusting relationship with his handler is extraordinary and in my opinion there is no single value that can hold more importance. If you learn from Manolo and study his in-hand lessons, you will learn more than an introduction to the working in-hand exercises. You will learn a philosophy of horsemanship that may seem deceptively simple, but is truly the foundation for everything good that can come to a horse through his education. And, these same principles that teach us how to be in a partnership between horse and rider where both are equally willing to learn from one another can be implemented in every area of life that I can think of…family, friends, work…listen, watch, be compassionate, be tactful, be gentle…

These videos are highly recommended for all these reasons!”

Kip Mistral, Equestrian Journalist and Best Selling Author of “Horse Training In-Hand: A Modern Guide to Working from The Ground” .

“This is the approach one needs to have a sane, healthy, happy horse (and owner!) Manolo’s work and philosophy of training are truly horse-oriented; applying this work to my crew has not only helped them, it has helped me to become a better horse owner. As a veterinarian, it causes me great anguish to see horses whose bodies and minds are damaged by incorrect training and riding. This video can be watched over and over again not only because there is so much information in every clip; but also because it is sheer joy to see these horses and how Manolo works with them. It is an antidote to some of the very sad horses we see in competition. Get the DVD’s. You will not be disappointed.”

Jaini Clougher, DVM, Canada, ECIR: The Equine Cushing’s and Insulin Resistance Group Inc,

 I remember when I first received my DVD and I watched it with a couple of friends who expressed confusion because they expected what every other trainer had always given them: specific instructions and precise techniques, certainly none of the favorite Manolo-isms like “….it depends…..”. Manolo inspires you to creatively think, to empathetically feel, to get inside your horse’s head and allow him/her to teach you how to teach him. It’s so vital to watch THE MAN and not only what he happens to be doing with one particular horse: with Manolo you see a living example of everything our horses wish we could BE, not just DO. 

Corey Midlin, New Zealand

“Manolo Mendez is amazing. His compassion and deep understanding of horses, plus practical methods, make this series the one to watch–and watch again. Your partnership with your horse will blossom as Manolo’s methods unfold.”

Anne Novak, Executive Director, Protect Mustangs,

“This excellent video offers clear instruction in foundational groundwork exercises. Manolo shows great sensitivity and understanding of each horse, and explains the techniques clearly to student Jillian. This format made it easy for me to understand and apply with my own horse. I found value in repeated viewings of each lesson, seeing new details each time. I really appreciated watching him work with a variety of horses, and how the exercises benefited young horses or those that had been handled roughly. I highly recommend this video to anyone who wishes to learn new skills to enhance their horse’s movement and soundness.”

Kathleen Aspenns, Tellington TTouch Method Level 2 Instructor, Flower Essence and Acupressure Practitioner,

“About a year ago I came across Manolo’s work- he was shown in a youtube video with examples for great piaffes among other riders. I very much liked the picture of him and googled his name, found his homepage, watched the trailers of his in-hand DVD, bought it and after watching it and seeing him work with horses, horsemanship, in-hand work and riding was not the same anymore for me. His way of working is crystal clear, always with the focus on helping the horse to find a good working posture, to understand what is expected, to make work simple for it rather than complicate everything (for both horses and handlers/riders). Watching the DVD and other segments available on vimeo over and over again always reveals new aspects, new details that were invisible when watching for the first time. And it is great that Manolo shows his work with different horses of different skill levels. I can highly recommend this video as well as all the other segments to all those horse owners who are interested in a holistic approach towards the training of their horses and are committed to restore or to keep a horse’s soundness and to ensure their wellbeing, physically as well as mentally.

Verena Eiwen, Dressage rider and Stable owner, Germany

“The level of knowledge and compassion for horses and their training that Manolo has, is unsurpassed by any other trainer I have met. Manolo sees every horse as an individual and he will adapt his training to benefit each and every horse’s needs. No matter your horse’s breed, discipline, age or size it wil benefit from Manolos training and become healthier,happier and performing better.You yourself will grow not only as a horse owner and trainer, but as a person too when adapting Manolos training philosophy and listening to his explanations about horses.”

Susan Kjaergard,  Horse Trainer and owner of the Blue Berry Hill riding center, Denmark 

“I could not wait to get my hands on this DVD, which was released soon after we had taken our first clinic with Manolo. It’s just a necessary at home reference with beautifully produced bite size pieces of information, which are easily digested. I knew this would be good, just looking at the thoughtful front cover. To me the image speaks of two friends working something out together; there is no dominance, no ego, its just Manolo and his horse being together, simple and uncomplicated. Just like his work. The beautiful Spanish guitar music immediately transports me back to Spain and happy memories. I am enthralled and almost in a meditative state watching for the first time, I even ignore my cheeky teenagers remarks as they loudly walk past. I have to dreamily watch the DVD twice before I start to dissect information to take back to the stables. But this is not time wasted, I am beginning to understand the philosophy behind this training. I find myself humming the Spanish guitar music in my head, whilst working in-hand. The tempo and melody are just perfect. It helps me focus, and my youngster usually falls into a nice flowing rhythm. The production is so carefully put together so that you feel totally immersed – you are almost taking a private lesson. As a green owner of a green young horse I appreciate the question format throughout the lessons, I like the variety of horses and situations – these are real life scenarios with horses. This DVD does not only give you the tools for everyday handling and working your horse correctly for a long and stress free life. It gives so much more. Manolo encourages you to move with your horse gracefully, to really feel both his ease and discomfort. It may truly change the way you view your horse.”

Melanie Griffith, Australia

“I love going back to Manolo’s videos and watching the man work. I’m amazed at his gentle movements and intuitive understanding with each horse. I also own the DVD and enjoying flicking through different sections. Thanks Manolo.”

Leah Moulden, Australia

“love the philosophy behind Manolo’s Work. How could you not admire a man who puts the needs of the horse first no matter the training level or situation. This is a wonderful DVD and I would recommend it to anyone wanting a better relationship and partnership with their horse based on trust, communication and understanding how to develop your horse at your horse’s pace.”

Joddie Webber, Australia

“This is a wonderful learning resource. There are so few videos available for learning how to work in-hand. Manolo is a wonderful teacher, and I learn something new every time I watch this. But, don’t just watch… do this with your horse! Your partnership will improve and the horse will become more balanced and confident”

Becky Love, USA

“Sensational! Love watching my horse get more balanced and supple, this has helped enormously with our ponies. It has also helped me to read my horse better, so thank you!”

Liz Bennett, Australia

“I am always searching for new material on compassionate and effective dressage training. If there’s a book or video program out there, I’ve probably tried it. By far, Manolo’s video’s are the best. Not only is his work kind and effective, but his teaching is clear and easy to understand. His philosophy is all-encompassing, helping the rider to understand not just the how, but the why of training. I always pick up more than I expect, even after several viewings. This program is ideal for a rider that wants a program based on a healthy, happy horse.”

EMotion Digital Media, Florida

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