Warm-up your horse’s hind leg for better engagement

Click the video to see how to ask for hind leg movement from the ground.

In my ongoing series about getting in touch with your horse and helping him feel his best, we’ll be talking about how to address hind leg tightness. I’ve brought back dressage trainer, Becky Seizert, to walk you through an exercise you can do on the ground to get those hind legs activated so you’ll see better engagement under the saddle.

Getting your horse to cross his hind legs on the ground

If you’ve ever noticed that your horse doesn’t bend very well through the middle of his back or has a short stride behind, chances are one or both of his hind legs are tight. One of the best ways to encourage your horse to stretch those legs is by asking him to cross his inside hind leg underneath himself while moving forward. Asking your horse to do this one step at a time from the ground makes it easier for him to focus on his balance without the weight of a rider.

How will you know if your horse is doing it right?

As you’re asking your horse to move forward, you’ll want to look for the following:

  • Your horse’s inside hind leg (on the side you’re standing on) crosses underneath his body completely
  • Your horse’s body stays straight, not curved (don’t let the outside shoulder get ahead of the inside one)
  • Your horse seems relaxed and calm when you ask him to move forward

Your horse will improve way more than just his hind leg movement

After you’ve done this groundwork exercise consistently, you’ll find your horse is better able to stabilize his back and engage his hind end. Not only will your horse feel more confident in his own balance but he will be more likely to push from behind. And, a horse that pushes from behind with a supple back, well… that’s a more comfortable horse with better gaits.

Who doesn’t want that?

Let me know if you found the video and post helpful. And, make sure to follow Drassal Equine Bodywork on…