According to Dominique Barbier, work in hand is the “Golden Tool” in horse training. The reason for this is that there are so many benefits to working a horse in hand.
Benefits of work in hand include:
- It gives you the opportunity to see the strengths and weakness of your horse, both physically and mentally, which helps you determine how you will approach training him.
- It gives a fearful horse confidence and teaches him to trust.
- The horse learns to go forward and stop when you ask, as well as to stay out of your space.
- The horse learns to go forward in the rhythm you want, and to maintain that rhythm.
- It supples and relaxes the horse.
- The horse learns to go on the bit and to move laterally without the burden of having a rider on his back.
Good groundwork is often overlooked, but if you take the time it will make a huge difference in your horse.