“In-Hand Lessons with Manolo Mendez – An Introduction to Working In-Hand“ is designed to help you help your horse be suppler, straighter, and more balanced in-hand leading to a calmer, healthier horse under saddle. It benefits horses of all breeds and disciplines because it is based on understanding and creating healthy postures and recognizing and developing healthy gaits. The DVD is a 3 hour– plus introduction to groundwork and working in hand with horses. It is practical and un-intimidating and follows the first five lessons of equestrian biomechanics lecturer Jillian Kreinbring as she learns to shape, influence and enhance horses’ postures and gaits for the better with the help of a cavesson and a bamboo. Jillian asks a lot of questions which is very helpful for viewers at home. Manolo discusses and demonstrates everything from how to select bamboo and adjust a cavesson properly, to how to create and regulate forward, how to halt, turn, change direction while maintaining healthy flexion throughout the horse’s topline, how to introduce shoulder fore, shoulder in, turn on the haunches, shoulder in – out, to the wall and more..
The DVD also contains additional footage of Manolo working in-hand and demonstrating exercises with two inexperienced horses. In addition, Manolo shares his way of introducing a young horse to lungeing and discusses and demonstrates how to transition a young horse from lungeing to riding. Finally, the DVD contains a section on What the Horse’s Body Tells You, where Manolo and Jilly observe a horse together and discuss physical landmarks and what they mean, how to improve them. While Jillian practices the exercises, Manolo gives her feedback and steps in to correct common mistakes, ensuring that viewers get a good understanding of what to do, and what to avoid.
MA; Karin Leibbrandt, certified veterinary surgeon specialising in horse rehabilitation and training, author: “Compassionate Training for Today’s Sport Horse”
“Those who devote themselves to practice without science are like sailors who put to sea without a rudder or compass and who can never be certain where they are going. Practice must always be founded on sound theory.“ Leonardo da Vinci
This quote expresses the philosophy behind Manolo’s work. Manolo Mendez is an exceptional horse trainer and bodyworker not only because of his lifetime experience with horses and training them on the highest levels, but especially because of his knowledge behind everything he does.
His work is based on biomechanical laws proven by scientific research. He has an outstanding eye for abnormalities in the mobility of the top line and musculoskeletal problems.
Due to his knowledge and experience he is able to be very specific about the right posture and core stability of the horse. This posture causes a good movement pattern. Training according to his system enables horses to recover from injury, stay healthy on the long term and ensure that the horse can perform optimally. Only a healthy, confident and happy horse can access his full potential.
When Manolo analyses a horse, he always approaches every aspect of the horse. He’s scanning his body for limitations in mobility. He observes and palpates the entire body. By releasing fascia and muscles the horse is able to show a correct movement pattern and he can use his back properly.
Only than it is possible to teach the horse how to use his body in a way that it will improve his body and make him stronger. This will make him less susceptible for injuries.
But Manolo’s work goes further than that. There is a lot to know about saddles, bridles and the bit. What makes to horse comfortable and what causes the horse experience discomfort or even limits his movements or body posture?
The hoofs are another important subject. Horses with myofascial problems compensate by changing the position of the legs. This causes an incorrect balance in the hoofs and the legs, which causes overload in joints. By releasing the fascia and muscles, the leg will return to his natural position and the hoofs need to be adjusted to this situation again.
Manolo masters every aspect needed to successfully rehabilitate horses, but he also knows how to train them in a friendly way to the highest levels. His knowledge is unlimited and he showed me during a three day clinic in Belgium that the smallest detail can make a huge difference. It can make the difference between failure and successfully rehabilitating a horse.
Dr Julia Kline, DVM, Bvsc Diploma of Equine/Animal Chiropractic
To whom it may concern,
Having had the pleasure and opportunity to meet and watch Manolo at work, it is clear to me the immense benefits and great depth of knowledge that this individual has in the field of equine health.
It is essential as a practitioner in my field that we not only treat the stationary spine but also ensure measures are put in place to support,strengthen and train the athlete to further prevent musculo skeletal dysfunction.
Manolo has an innate sense of understanding in the way the horse should move freely and unencumbered. This knowledge allows him to recognize even the smallest amount of tension in the body and correct the horse enabling him to train with the least resistance possible.
His training approach aims for quality movements over quantity preventing damaging compensatory patterns from developing.His unique mixture of hands on body work and demand for correct body alignment and balance make him a stand out in the field of equine health. It is this eye for detail and approach that prevents horses being pushed way beyond their limits and having to be retired far too early
We owe our equine friends respect and an approach to training that ensures their long term health over short term results.It is my strong belief that Manolo’s training in all its forms, in hand and under saddle, encompasses all this philosophy and more.
Shauna Haipola, MS, Chinese Medicine Practitioner, Registered Acupuncturist,OMD (Nevada), Diplomate NCCAOM, Equine Acupuncturist
Manolo Mendez has an unparalleled ability to locate underlying imbalances within the horse’s body which directly contribute to performance issues, pain and lameness. His training techniques are the most effective I have seen to re-educate the horse within its own limits; he is able to remove restrictions, improve locomotion and proprioception, and allow the horse to attain balanced, happy and athletic performance. I have worked in the equine rehabilitative field since 1995, and there are few equine professionals that achieve the outcomes that Manolo Mendez achieves on a regular basis.
I have learned techniques from attending two clinics with Manolo Mendez and Dr. Kerry Ridgway that have revolutionized the way that I practice, and I am getting improved outcomes with much less impact on my own body as a result. I have received the same feedback from every professional to whom I have recommended the courses. It is a gift to your clients, your horses and yourself to spend some time in the presence of such a gifted and kind horseman
MY FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE: I am so thrilled with the changes in my mare after a few months of proper in-hand work. She is finally able to initiate the walk from a hind limb, which she was completely unable to do six months ago.
Situation: My mare was “auction prepped” as a youngster and as such, she has had a propensity for using her shoulders in all movements to pull herself around rather than use her hind legs to step through. She was not using herself properly.
Program: After watching Manolo at the clinics and studying his in-hand DVD, I started playing with her. We worked initially on always stopping with a square halt and in a good posture, with her neck forward, down and out, her eye between her hip point and stifle and her gullet soft and open. I watched which foot she would stop on and then touched her gently behind the fetlock to “lift” that foot with the bamboo and place it forwards as she started to walk. I then halted and rewarded her.
Result: In the past, she would only start walking with a front foot but with a few months of steady and slow work now that she is more used to dropping her poll and allowing herself to move forward, she is able to maintain her balance and step through her body, stepping forward with a hind foot first. It is a very exciting change.
Pauline Moore, Performance Horse Therapy, http://www.gravelproofhoof.org
A large part of my therapy work over the past 16 years has focused on improving movement and performance in horses that do not have any obvious injuries or other issues that warrant veterinary attention. Despite some minor differences, there has been a common theme of overall braced musculature in most of these horses, regardless of breed and the type of work for which the horses are used. Generally, the primary cause of most issues can be traced to one or more of the following four points of origin; dysfunctional feet, teeth problems, poor saddle-fit and inappropriate training methods.
If the horse is uncomfortable anywhere in his body, he will respond by tensing, or bracing, muscles in an effort to relieve the discomfort. Once the hoof, teeth and saddle problems have been resolved it is essential for the horse to be handled and trained in a manner that allows him to be fully relaxed mentally and emotionally. An anxious or frightened horse will brace his muscles in the same way as a horse feeling pain or discomfort; neither horse can carry a rider effectively or safely.
For nearly 20 years I have seen that keeping the horse relaxed and happy is a priority for Manolo Mendez as he understands that no progress can be made in training and building a strong horse unless the horse is comfortable and free of all tension in mind and body. Manolo also understands deeply the functional anatomy of the horse; he knows how each horse should move within the limits of its individual conformation and structures his in-hand and under-saddle training to meet the needs of each horse. The softness and feel that Manolo employs with all horses results in a relaxed, strong, free-moving animal whose full potential can be reached.
Dr. Fiona Mead, DVM and Veterinary acupuncturist (IVAS and AVAG affiliated) http://www.vetacupuncture.org
Manolo’s in-hand and under saddle work is effective for rehabilitating horses with muscle, bone and ligament/tendon injuries and issues. Since learning of Manolo’s techniques, I have shared many of the ideas with my clients, to benefit the strengthening, straightness and balance of their horses. The in-hand work, I have found especially beneficial for the resulting hindlimb angulation abnormalities, especially those not tracking straight with medial hindlimb muscle shortening. By placing the bamboo between the hind limbs and asking for a bend to the opposites side to which the handler is working, this helps convey to the horse, movement that has been ‘forgot’ due to injury, conformation or bad training. The way he works with previously abused or mistreated horses and establishes trust, is inspiring for those with horses with these issues – they become willing participants and interested in learning and developing their potential again.
Manolo’s understanding of how to enhance the natural beauty and bring the best out in the horse, shows in his ability and techniques to get the horse stepping through and under more. There is only so much as a veterinarian /bodyworker can do in the rehabilitation process, the rest is up to the trainer. Rehabilitation not only of individual muscle groups in affected areas, but also the whole horse, is something Manolo reiterates – you are not training a part of the horse, but the whole horse. To have insight to share with clients, from one who has studied and worked with horses at Manolo’s level, leaves the client feeling they have the ability, or at least where to investigate further, for strengthening and rehabilitation/training, that is effective and beneficial in the long term to the horses.
Dr. Kerry J. Ridgway, DVM, Integrative Medicine, Equine Performance Specialist, retired FEI Judge and Endurance competitor, Author and Lecturer
In this DVD, traditional dressage professor and in-hand expert Manolo Mendez takes students and horses through groundwork exercises in a clear and logical sequence. The communication, rapport and sensitivity of the horse, trainer and student is wonderfully maintained and respected at every moment. Simply put, this DVD is absolutely inspirational. www.drkerryridgway.com
Kim Walnes, rider and trainer of Hall of fame inductee the Gray Goose, member of the USET 3 Day Eventing Team from 80-86, winner of Individual and Team Bronze Medals at the 82 World Championships and FEI dressage trainer.
This DVD is brilliant. Manolo demonstrates in-hand techniques he has developed over time that can help any owner improve their horse with exercises designed for balance, coordination, lightness plus strengthened topline and joints. It brings clarity to a subject that is rarely understood and combined with the (free) supporting online written material, will open new worlds for both horse and rider. Your horse will thank you! www.TheWayOfTheHorse.com
Joan Williams, Grand Prix rider, USDF Bronze, Silver, Gold Medalist, Gold Freestyle bar, USDF “r” dressage judge
Manolo has an innate bond with horses, he is sympathetic and puts their wellbeing first and foremost. He is a true master of instilling a correct foundation of suppleness and creating a swinging back into the horse and strives to impart the knowledge of how to do so into the rider. His timing and skill while working the horse in hand is truly amazing!