Groundwork Gymnastics and Straightening of the horse

Gymnastics aims to move the body. In such a way that it ensures a strong, flexible and healthy body, but also a motivated mind!

Noa my handsome 23 year old gelding in a short compilation of the gymnastic exercises (work in hand) from the front position

A fit body is very important for the horse, especially if we also want to ride the horse.

A horse is not made by nature to be ridden. Nor was it born with a perfectly symmetrical body. Just like every human, every horse has his own crookedness. Every horse is unique in this. The left and right sides of the body can be differently shaped and muscled. This can lead to “crookedness” and “weak spots”.


Working with the biomechanics of the horse is very important. In addition, you must have good Basic Communication with your horse before you are able to start the gymnastic exercises.

Hurry, Slowly!

Take your time and you will see that you win it back at the end.

Step 1: Determine crookedness

This phase is the starting point, it is useful to first determine the different asymmetries/ weaknesses in the horse.

These asymmetries / weaknesses are different for each horse and by charting them it becomes clear how the horse can be balanced again. Click here to determine
asymmetries / weaknesses

Step 2: Basic Gymnastics

In this phase the foundation is laid to be able to work with the horse and perform the first gymnastic exercises, the work in hand.

Learning aids with the cavesson

The horse must understand the functioning of the cavesson and must be able to lower the head while keeping it in balance.

Stelling and bending at stand

The horse must learn that it can bend evenly to both sides while remaining balanced and standing.

The circle

Circle with LFS: L stands for lateral bending of the body, F for forward downwards of the head and neck, S for stepping under the body with the inside hindleg. With this, the horse learns to walk a correct circle.


Moving the horse with distance on a circle with LFS is named: Lunging and executed well is not only so much fun but also a complete workout for your horse.

Straight with stelling and bending / Shoulder fore

Moving the horse on a straight line with LFS, prepares for the next exercise, the Shoulder inn.

Step 3: Gymnastics
Advanced I

The horse learns in hand to bend evenly to both sides and thus increase the flexibility of both hind legs as well as the shoulder freedom of both forelegs. From this phase it becomes possible for the horse to return the center of gravity from the fragile front to the stronger hindquarter.

Shoulder in

The horse learns to put more weight on the inner hind leg and to use it in a supporting manner, thereby giving him shoulder freedom in the outside foreleg. In addition, the horse learns to bring the center of gravity back to the hindquarters.


The horse learns to put more weight on the outside hind leg and to use it in a load-bearing manner, which gives it more shoulder freedom in the inner foreleg. In addition, the exercise also brings the center of gravity back to the hindquarters.

Step 4: Gymnastics
Advanced II

When all of the above is mastered, the horse is already much more suple and better balanced. It is then time to go one step further. The horse learns to respond better to the aids because there is no longer any wall on which the horse can look for support. Also does the horse learn to bend and use his hindquarters even more.


The same goal as with Travers, however, the exercise is mirrored. The horse must be better on the aids (no longer any wall support). Also this excercise contributes to further collection and learning of Shoulder inn and Travers on the circle.

Half pass

Is an exercise to put both hind legs of the horse into bearing weight. As a result, simultaneously making both hind legs flexible.


A small circle in Travers. Because the hind legs make a smaller circle than the forelegs, the horse must flex both hind legs and the horse can rise at the front.

Of course you can also teach these gymnastic exercises while riding, but it is preferable to first train the horse from the ground up, to and including Step 2, Basic Gymnastics.

Resulting in…. a horse with better and more
muscularity !!

When the previous phases have been successfully completed, a major step has already been taken in the development of the horse, but also in your development!

You will notice that your horse has undergone a major change. When you take photos during the training steps, it will show how the muscles of your horse develop. But in addition to the physical part, the relationship with your horse will also grow as a result of the intensive cooperation and your horse will, as it were, become more balanced in its responses and actions.

Noa before
Noa after

Do you also like to learn this?

Get acces to online courses