In-Hand

with Jack

This program is suitable for all ages and levels of training and is highly addictive! Learn how to build in all the buttons your horse needs to reach their full potential. Mobilise the shoulders with ‘leg extensions’, engage the hind with ‘piaffe’, and combine movements to produce cadence and enhance your horse’s performance.

In-Hand

with Jack

Follow each season, building in all the ‘buttons’ your horse needs to reach their full potential.

Start your adventure here!

Spring Season

Relaxation starts in the jaw, so this is where our journey begins. In this season you will learn how to release tension in the jaw, relax back muscles, and how to achieve true engagement.

Download our quick reference cards for each lesson to keep you and your horse on track!

Spring Jack 1 - Jaw Release
Spring: Lesson 1

Jaw Release

  • Suppleness
  • Contact
  • Relaxing jaw
  • Relaxation
  • Tension
  • Cadence
  • Rhythm

Learn how to 'release the jaw' to improve the contact and connection.

Jack is the joker of the herd and manages to make everybody laugh with his antics. He didn’t get off to a great start in life - Tracy actually rescued him as a three-year-old. He’s now a strapping nine-year-old and doing well at higher-level dressage. Because he is short-coupled, he can be a bit stiff through his back. Teaching him to release his jaw and stretch the bit down is just what he needs to improve suppleness.

The Old Masters used to say that the horse should “chew the bit down to the ground”. In this lesson, Jenku demonstrates how to release your horse’s jaw in hand so that he understands what you are asking when you’re on his back and take up rein contact. By relaxing his jaw, Jack is able to lick, chew and swallow. This sets off complex neurological changes which allow him to relax. Relaxation and suppleness go hand in hand. A tense horse will be unable to concentrate, lose cadence and rhythm and be uncomfortable to ride.

Spring Jack 2 - Relaxation
Spring: Lesson 2

Relaxation

  • Relaxation
  • Tight back
  • Long and low
  • Engagement
  • Swing

Learn to release the back muscles so your horse can truly engage the hind.

Relaxation is where all good things start and end. In this film, Jenku teaches Jack that relaxation is the cornerstone for everything he does. Because horses are flight animals, their nervous systems are hard-wired for alertness and action. This often results in a raised head and tight back, neither of which are great when Tracy is schooling. Cooling the nervous and training a long and low frame allows the horse to relax over his back, which means he can use his stomach muscles to pull his hind legs forward and under.

This is the essence of dressage – true engagement and relaxation. By stroking the horse firmly with the piaffe whip over his back, you can teach him to un-contract his back muscles and stretch forward and down. Just like people, horses can’t learn when they’re anxious or stressed. Anything they learn when they’re relaxed will stay in their long-term memory. This is an invitation to go for a holiday in your head - while teaching your horse to do the same. Lucky Jack.

Spring Jack 3 - Shoulder in Facing
Spring: Lesson 3

Shoulder-In Facing

  • Shoulder-in
  • Engagement
  • Connection
  • Neck
  • Balance
  • Suppleness

Learn exactly where you need to place the inside hind leg in 'Shoulder-In'.

'Shoulder-In' is a dressage exercise which people often find difficult to master. In this lesson, Jenku helps Jack get the feel of stepping his inside hind leg forward and under while in hand. Training in hand shoulder in is a matter of precise timing and relaxation. Jenku demonstrates how to hold the snaffle bit and bridle with a straight arm which acts as an extension of the horse’s spine. Walking backwards slowly, you tap the whip at the girth where your heel would be. Here’s the tricky part – you need to tap just as your horse’s inside hind hoof hits the ground, otherwise you run the risk of raising stress levels in your horse.

Muscles work in pairs and one set of muscles needs to relax to enable the alternate pair to work effectively. A relaxed and uncontracted back allows the stomach muscles to do their job properly and pull the hind legs forward and under the horse. Training complex movements in hand is a great way to set your horse up for success before you get into the saddle. In the next lesson, Jack ups his game and progresses from Shoulder-In to Renvers on a circle!

archer
Spring: Lesson 4

Archer’s Stance

  • Shoulder-in
  • Renvers
  • Engagement
  • Swing
  • Connection
  • Neck
  • Balance
  • Counter curve

Stand like an 'archer' and transition from 'Shoulder-In' to 'Renvers'.

'Shoulder-In' to 'Renvers' on a circle might sound really complicated, but if you have a good set up in 'Shoulder-In' and really get your horse’s inside hind leg forward and under, the moment you go into counter curve you’ll see a lovely swing in the hind legs. And this is really what it’s all about. In this lesson Jenku works with Jack on the next step in developing your horses lateral work in hand. Starting with an 'Archer’s Stance' in Shoulder-In, when you feel your giving you a nice connection, 'tsk' and reward.

The next step is helping your horse shape his neck because, when the neck is lifted, the balance shifts to the hind quarter. From a good Shoulder-In, pull down lightly on the whip hand as the inside hind leg touches the ground and ask for the slightest counter curve. Reward the 'smallest try' and then go again. Be careful not to keep the pressure on for too long, as this can make your horse claustrophobic and his behaviour and movement will deteriorate instead of improving.

Downloadable Quick-Reference Cards

Lesson:Jaw Release

Before you start, loosen your horse’s noseband. Make sure you can easily fit 2 fingers underneath otherwise your horse cannot release the jaw.
Hold the cheek pieces like a ‘syringe’ with your thumb through the bit rings and gently raise the bit upwards into your horse’s mouth corners.
Keep a consistent steady ‘contact’ with the bit raised until your horse ‘releases’ the jaw and starts to chew the bit - ‘tsk’ & reward.
Next guide your horses nose forward and down towards your belt buckle whilst still holding the bit rings evenly on either side - ‘tsk’ & reward.
Finally stand next to your horse’s side, take up the contact with both reins and reward your horse for taking the bit forward and down.
REMEMBER:
Keep the bit straight and raise both sides evenly. Focus on the behaviour that you want, rather than what you don’t want, and reward each small step.

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This program is currently in progress

Each season will be added as we progress in real-time through the year. The complete program will be available to buy at the end of the year. Meanwhile you can join our membership to get access to the lessons which are already live. Enjoy!

Lesson:Renvers

Start by setting up ‘shoulder in’ on a circle in ‘Archer Stance’ in walk - you may need to revisit this lesson in Spring season.
Staying in ‘shoulder in’, bring your energy up and ’cluck’ once to ask for trot. If Follow up with a tap of your whip at the girth, where your leg would be.
Once your horse feels light and forward in your hand, give a tiny tug downwards with your ‘whip hand’.
This pressure on the corner of your horse’s mouth swings his inside hind leg forward and under.
The ‘counter curve’ encourages your horse to step wider behind, which helps the back muscles to release.
REMEMBER:
Reward the ‘smallest try’. Don’t keep your horse going for multiple circles without rewarding their effort otherwise they will end up shutting down.

Lesson:Renvers

Start by setting up ‘shoulder in’ on a circle in ‘Archer Stance’ in walk - you may need to revisit this lesson in Spring season.
Staying in ‘shoulder in’, bring your energy up and ’cluck’ once to ask for trot. If Follow up with a tap of your whip at the girth, where your leg would be.
Once your horse feels light and forward in your hand, give a tiny tug downwards with your ‘whip hand’.
This pressure on the corner of your horse’s mouth swings his inside hind leg forward and under.
The ‘counter curve’ encourages your horse to step wider behind, which helps the back muscles to release.
REMEMBER:
Reward the ‘smallest try’. Don’t keep your horse going for multiple circles without rewarding their effort otherwise they will end up shutting down.

Lesson:Travers

Start on an angle next to the fence. Hold the rein near the bit ring and tap the hind leg with the whip to cue your horse to step sideways - ‘tsk’ and reward.
Next hold the bit rings with both hands and turn your horses head to face down the track. When your horse relaxes into this position - ‘tsk’ and reward.
Now create a ‘mould’ with the bit, reins, your body and whip. Start with the sideways steps, then pull down on the ‘whip hand’ to create the bend.
Consistency is key. Your ‘mould’ should feel the same every time you ask your horse to shape their body into travers. Reward every few steps.
Build up steps gradually and repeat on both reins. Your ‘mould’ will soon feel comfortable for your horse and they will assume the shape willingly.
REMEMBER:
The number 1 criteria is relaxation. By training sympathetically for relaxation, your horse will be your willing partner. Everything follows from there.

Lesson:Half Pass Trot

Start in ‘shoulder in’ on a circle, in walk first, then progress to trot by building in the ‘go button’ - ‘cluck’ once, then tap with the whip at the girth area.
Your horse will mirror your energy and posture. When you want to transition upwards, breathe in, inflate your body, harden your gaze and raise your energy.
Build the trot up gradually - ‘tsk’ and reward just a few strides at first. Once the trot is established, the next step is to pull down on the whip hand into ‘renvers’.
Once you are in ‘renvers’ on the circle, pick a diagonal line heading towards a marker further down the arena. Travel down the line in ‘half pass’.
The intention is not to get your horse all the way to the marker, but to see if you can get just a few steps of half pass, with the ‘new’ outside leg crossing over.
REMEMBER:
Always use consistent cues. You can’t vary your cues and expect your horse to understand what you’re asking. Consistent input results in consistent output.

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