How do I get my horse to engage his rear end?
This is a common question among horseback riders. Whether you need your horse to be more 'rounded'/collected in the show ring or you're working a green horse, this is a great technique for loosening a horse's hind end.
This groundwork exercise teaches a horse to engage his hind end, which of course helps him get off his forehand, too. Here Max demonstrates with Will, my Arabian gelding, whose conformation has always made it a bit of a problem to collect him up and make him drive with his hind end.
Use lateral movement to encourage better balance, suppleness, and responsiveness in your horse. Here we are asking the horse to move his hind legs further under his body, thus increasing impulsion and movement. This will create more even muscle building on both sides. It will also check to see quickly if both sides of the horse's body are supple, which we find on this gelding is not the case. This exercise is the simplest of lateral movements and will also help when mounted and asking the horse to move away from leg pressure: to execute a proper side pass, leg yield or half-pass.
A simple groundwork exercise which takes only a few minutes, this training technique can make a world of difference to get your horse rounded by driving with her rear end, as well as make her lift her shoulders up to get off her forehand.