It can be pretty tricky to incorporate Horsemanship and Groundwork Skills into a short half hour lesson. One easy quick way to do this is to have your student lead their horse for a lap around the arena before mounting, if they are able bodied enough. You can do one lap, several, or one in each direction.
You can use this time to:
- teach them how to lead a horse
- walk next to the leader, on the leader’s left (leader between student and horse for protection)
- walk directly next to horse, with the leader sandwiching them or on the horse’s other side
- lead with a spotter
- lead on their own, independently
- teach them how to check in and figure out how their horse is doing today by reading the horse’s body language
- teach them how to read and interpret a horse’s body language as they lead the horse, telling them how their horse is doing
- progress to asking them them how they think their horse is feeling today and why, and discussing
- check in with how the student is doing today
- while leading, if the student is capable of leading and talking with you at the same time
- after leading, while at the halt – talking about how the horse is doing offers a nice segway to talking about how the student is doing
- if you have several students, your leader/sidewalkers can do this, facilitating bonding with the team (tell them to let you know if there’s anything you should be aware of regarding how the student is doing today)
Eventually you can progress leading the horse around the arena to include leading checking their tack, leading their horse up to the mounting block, and mounting – all independently! Hooray!
Note: This is not professional advice, this is a blog. I am not liable for what you do with or how you use this information. The activities explained in this blog may not be fit for every rider, riding instructor, or riding center depending on their current condition and resources. Use your best personal judgement!