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Harmony is born out of a genuine empathy for the horse and a compassionate awareness of the mental and physical impact of the work on the horse.


What is ‘Front to Back’ Riding?

‘Massaging’ the reins, ‘sponging’ the reins, see-sawing, using ‘hold & release’, using ‘resistance/counter resistance’ or other signals to “supple the horse” or cue the horse’s head down is front to back riding.

Active hand riding is based on the principle that a horse will change its behavior to make discomfort cease. The horse learns that when it feels discomfort in its mouth, it can put its head down and make the discomfort stop. Teaching the horse to ‘give to the bit’ in response to a cue creates a head set which has no relevance to the horse’s state of balance, relaxation or free flow of energy. The dominant, backward action of the hands is referred to as ‘hand riding’ or riding ‘front to back’ because it acts on the front end of the horse in an attempt to influence the rest of the horse’s body. Artificially positioning the horses head and neck creates tension because it disrupts the horses balance and freedom of movement.

See: Visual Points

What is ‘Back to Front’ Riding?

‘Back to front’ riding is when the rider helps the aligned horse to flow forward with well-timed, full swinging steps that helps the horse naturally relax and reach for contact. It is called ‘back to front’ riding because the horse’s energy travels from its haunches, through its spine, forward to the bit. The horse’s whole body works harmoniously. Improving the horses balance and forward flow of energy automatically improves the horse’s posture and creates an appealing head position. The horse’s natural head position is a reflection of its way of going. It gives the rider important feedback on the quality of the work.  Creating a natural head set takes a bit of tact but with good instruction, it’s not beyond the ability of the average rider.





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last updated February, 2010