First Inhand Training Session


Active Member
Nov 27, 2014
On the recommendation of @Jane&Ziggy I finally received my copy of the 'Cobs Can Workbook' and had a bit of time in the fading light today to have a little play.

No photos I'm afraid - it was going dark and I had my mum in the centre of the school with the book! :D

I tried it with Brianne first as I expected Otto to get a little anxious as it was not something we have ever done before (Bria is 8 - not had her long and Otto is 21 and we've had him since he was 5!)

I started off trying to get used to the position I had to be in and getting my hands in the right place with the whip. I followed the instructions to open my shoulder and look ahead and to raise the whip quickly to ask her to move forwards. Nothing!
Tried again with a quicker motion of the whip....nope.
Then I used my voice at the same time....erm...still stationary!
Finally added a tap of the whip which grudgingly gave a vague forwards movement.
Lots of fusses and then repeated until she got the hang of what I was asking and we eventually managed to walk and halt using body language paired with voice aids and the up and down movement of the whip alongside her but not touching her.

Then I tried some serpentines which we managed. She tried to get a little fast a couple of times but I did manage to block her by moving forwards and turning my shoulder straight at her.

I would say that she doesn't readily respond to my body language but she did seem to be picking it up quickly.

Then I tried the softening of the jaw exercise. I had to move my right hand up almost to her poll to begin with to get any relaxation but as soon as she had done it once she knew what I was asking and I was able to move my hand further down her neck. I then tried it in walk and we managed to do three consecutive softenings of the jaw on each rein - I stopped there as she had done really well and it was obvious that she was trying very hard and it was very new to her.

Next I tried the same with Otto. He can get very anxious and upset if you confuse him so I was quite ready to stop as I don't see any point in upsetting him for no reason. But he surprised me! I tried the walking on with no voice, just with body language and a small up and down motion of the whip and he immediately walked on! Took me rather by surprise so I asked for halt, again with no voice aid and he halted!

I did transitions for a bit, then tried the serpentine and then asked him to speed up and slow down by opening and closing my shoulder to him and he responded beautifully!

So I tried the softening of the jaw and before I had barely asked he softened straight away. Tried it in walk and again he did it perfectly 3 times in a row!

I wanted to move on but by this point it was quite dark and we couldn't read the book so we had to stop lol!

It sounds really obvious but it just shows the difference in their levels of education - a green 8 year old and a well schooled been there done it 21 year old! I was super proud of Otto!

Ps, cookies and cake for reading through all of that! :oops:

Oh and a photo of the two of them taken earlier in the summer when they were first introduced!


Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
On an island
What a lovely pair they are:D
Nice to read that you got chance in a school, the light is against us at this time of year, but it's not forever thankfully. I read extracts of Cobs Can a few years ago in Your Horse mag.
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Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
Surrey Hills
That sounds fantastic, I think you sound like a much more skilled ground handler than me! I really struggle to get my position right.

I love the picture of the two of them. Do you have a type, by any chance? ;)
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Active Member
Nov 27, 2014
That sounds fantastic, I think you sound like a much more skilled ground handler than me! I really struggle to get my position right.

I love the picture of the two of them. Do you have a type, by any chance? ;)
Haha! I doubt it! I struggled with moving my right hand up and down the neck and keeping the contact whilst not dropping the whip! Not to mention the 'small 30cm movement of the whip' is more like a ground to top of back movement lol! The number of times I had to apologise to Bria and Otto for accidentally sticking the whip into them! :confused:

As to their type, not at all! I had a section D up until last Christmas and I was considering looking for another d but I couldn't quite bring myself to do that. I actually am not a huge fan of short stubby hairy cobs but something kept drawing my eye to her advert. Finally went to see her and she was the first pony since Dylan that I sat on with a smile. She was just fab. But I definitely wasn't looking for a small 14hh round stubby hairy thing, I wanted a 15hh ish gelding that could jump and had a bit of substance to the leg, maybe a Irish draft x or something. But who am I to argue with what life puts in our path! ;)
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KP nut

I'd rather be riding.
Dec 22, 2008
That sounds great. I do love groundwork and I love how subtle you can be with practice. Horses are masters at reading body language and intent - they just learn not to bother with humans as our body language and intent is normally so confusing and LOUD!!
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