Leading and Sending…in-hand work is essential training

Leading: Horse shall following willingly when lead, not crowd or lag behind, no rushing ahead or over-reacting to cues by jumping around. The Rider should have the horse’s attention at all times, pulling, grazing, nudging the Judge or pushing the Rider is considered a fault. Excess rope shall be held in the non-lead hand, looped over hand and not coiled around your hand.

  • The horse can be lead with a halter and lead rope. If doing so the reins should be secured to the horn of a Western saddle, or appropriately secured if no saddle horn is available. The Rider does not have to lead with a separate halter but can unclip the reins from the bit rings and correctly fasten them to the leading-ring of the halter bridle.
  • Stirrups without fenders on saddles such as English, Endurance, Austrian, etc., shall be secured by running the stirrups up the leathers, or secured by crossing over the saddle.
  • A Rider ground handling his horse through challenging terrain, over logs, through tight spaces shall secure a safe position prior to asking this horse to negotiate the obstacle.
  • If the Rider is instructed to lead the horse onto a narrow path (in-hand) the rider will give out enough lead for the horse to follow behind them at a safe distance.

Sending: Riders are also evaluated on their horsemanship skills when asked to complete in-hand sending obstacles. The same rules apply with these obstacles as with leading.

  • The Rider can execute an in-hand obstacle with the horse in bridle or halter & lead; however, horses best respond to direction from their Rider with a rope halter & lead. A 12′ lead gives the Rider the best advantage when cuing a horse in-hand.
  • The horse shall follow the Riders direction willingly when sent. The horse can look and investigate footing but should not turn away from the desired path.
  • Cuing the horse with the ‘tail end’ of the lead is an excellent way of communication.
  • The Rider should face the horse, point in the direction the horse should go and cue with the lead. (see below)
  • A Rider executing an in-hand obstacle with their horse through challenging terrain, over logs, through tight spaces shall be in a safe position prior to asking this horse to negotiate the obstacle.
  • If the Rider is instructed to lead and send their horse on a narrow path the Rider will give out enough lead for the horse to follow behind them at a safe distance or send the horse ahead and if room allows, have the horse yield his hindquarters.
  • Stirrups without fenders on saddles such as English, Endurance, Austrian, etc., shall be secured by running the stirrups up the leathers or by crossing over the saddle.
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Proper position for sending in-hand obstacle [/one_half] [one_half]

This rider is stationary focusing on her horse. The rope is in both hands, she’s sending the horse by reaching out with her left arm. Notice the rope halter and long lead, reins are secured to the saddle and the back cinch fits properly (not hanging below horse belly). This horse slipped a bit down the hill, but the Rider maintained control and the horse stayed attentive to the rider.
Photo by Jim Edmondson

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