Hand Position and Stabilizing Exercise

Before you use this exercise, you may want to brush up on your hand position. I recommend this article:

The Good Riding Hand

And now, to help develop good hand posture and stable riding hands, the:

Carry a Crop Exercise

Have the rider hold a crop or stick across their hands like this:


This picture is from the Murdoch Method website. For the full article, go here:

Carry Your Hands

A good quote from this article:

“No matter where you place them, it is important to carry your hands. In other words, they need to feel connected to the rest of your body, not sit there like limp dead fish.” – Wendy Murdoch

Anyway, have the ride carry a crop for the warmup, first 10 minutes, or whole lesson! I used it on 2 riders today and it really helped.

Here is a video about this exercise:



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 judgment!

5 thoughts on “Hand Position and Stabilizing Exercise

  1. Hello,

    I love your blog.   Are there any books you could recommend to me as I must write my own therapeutic lessons plans for my program.  My mentor instructor just has so much experience she can write them in her mind then just put them to paper. Open to any suggestions regarding staging the progession of lesson plans.


    • Hi Noreen, thanks for writing! Unfortunately I don’t know of any good books, that’s why I started the blog, to share what I learn with others who have a hard time finding resources. Look on the index page for articles about writing lesson plans. The best book I’ve found is “Strategies for therapeutic riding instruction volumes I and II”. Even though it is a little outdated, it’s more about all aspects of therapeutic riding with not much on lesson planning, but really informative. Is there any article in particular you’d like to see on the blog? I’d love to write something that would help you out.

  2. Hello,

    Visting family in Ireland at the minute.  Yes, copies of your last years best topics and the site for games.  Thank you for your support.


  3. I had a young (9 yrs) rider with “subclinical” apraxia (not bad enough to merit OT or PT) whose hands would gradually float toward his ears at walk and trot. At the time he was riding independently at walk and trot in a semiprivate lesson. For a few lessons I incorporated a resistance band to help increase his awareness. I threaded it through the d-rings on the English saddle and had him hold onto the ends with his reins. Nothing was tied. This way as his hands started to rise, he automatically got a gentle tug downward. It made a huge difference at posting trot!

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