Howdy Friends!

A very important and easy thing you can do to help your horse maintain proper posture, soft body carriage and self-awareness as well as self-confidence is a little exercise known as the “One-Step.” You see, because of the things we ask our horses to do, they often lose connection with their feet.

Stand in front of your horse holding the lead softly, and simply ask for “One Step Forward,” then stop, and rock her back off off the forehand.

Let her stand and process that feeling of lightly taking only one easy step. One step is a complete step, and it includes one front and the alternate (diagonal) hind.(Kessy’s left front and right rear legs have “stepped back.” She has also immediately adjusted into “rock back.” Notice how she is off her forehand and has her weight shifted to her hind end in correct posture.)

When you begin this exercise, she will most likely take more than one step, because she’ll have the momentum started, just as she’s been taught. That’s okay, go with it—wherever she stops, tell her “good girl,” and let her feel the softness.

Then ask for “one step back,” the same two feet you had asked her to step forward. Allow her to feel the softness, process the moment, and then ask for “one step forward” again—allow her to feel it, process it, congratulate her, then one step back again.

Repeat forward and back 3 or 4 times, then switch to her other side and do it all over again. You should see her softening overall, and lowering her head.

Remember, one step is a complete step, one front and alternate hind each time. Don’t forget to allow time, every time, for her to process and feel the moment. And don’t forget to rock her back off her forehand after each one-step.~ Gitty Up, Dutch.

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