Case studies

Walk work can have incredible effects on all kinds of horses. Read about some of the horses Diana has worked with, how they have changed and how those changes were brought about.


"The photos on this page were originally taken primarily for my own reference because I am genuinely curious about the changes in the horses I work with. Photographing horses can be difficult and I always aim to screenshot the same phase of the stride so that I can best compare any changes. As well as the photographs and video screenshots, I keep schooling diaries so that I can evaluate what is working. 

In my experience, connected and targeted walk work brings about more positive long term changes than anything else. This is just a small selection of the hundreds of images I have that demonstrate the profound benefits of this work. I hope you are as fascinated about the changes as I am and would love to hear what you think. 

If you are interested in learning more about the techniques that brought about these changes please subscribe to the Power of Walk mailing list. You will receive regular emails about our most recent blog posts, invitations to our live webinars and be the first to hear about when we next run our signature Power of Walk live course."

Diana Waters

Case study: Rocky 

Rocky was a 26-year-old ex-riding school pony with Cushing's. He developed a dipped back and kissing spines as a result of muscle wastage and poor posture. I worked Rocky in-hand for 2 weeks, about 20 minutes per day, 3 times per week until his back was straight and strong enough to carry a rider, and then I combined in-hand and ridden walk work for a further 2 weeks.

His thoracic sling lifted, back straightened and topline muscles began to build as a result. I chose to retire him and he now lives a happy life in his little herd, where he also enjoys work as a therapy horse. He is no longer worked in-hand or ridden as I feel he has earned his retirement, but is completely sound and strong with no back issues and could carry a rider if required.

Case study: Trevor

Trevor was an 11-year-old thoroughbred ex-racehorse that I leased for about a year. When he came to me, he had a very underdeveloped topline and overdeveloped underneck, and his way of going was incredibly hollow and tense, with a tendency to be “lazy”. Trevor always had a beautiful, kind temperament and willingness to engage. I rehabilitated him by corrective hoof trimming and diet, and went about changing his posture and established way of going by working him slowly in-hand combined with some long-reining. Once he was able to carry himself in a better posture, I began riding him bareback in slow walk interspersed with stretching. I spent a good few months in walk only until he had become established working in a correct posture and had begun to build topline. I then introduced trot and canter work, and found him a lot more forward, responsive and fluid than he had been previously.

Case study: Flicker

Flicker is a young Arab mare, not yet started under a rider. She had a wonderful start to life and as a result has a positive and curious attitude to people and learning. She developed a few issues with her hooves and the rest of her body. She also had high-low syndrome and crookedness in her body. I had been unable to find a good trimmer and ended up having to learn to trim hooves myself as she was constantly footsore. With the hoof issue finally resolved, I began in-hand work to correct some significant crookedness in her body and gently undo the compensations that she had formed as a result of being footsore and crooked. I worked her in-hand for periods of about 20 minutes, usually up to 3 times per week. Several of her issues resolved immediately, including her cow hocks which straightened within 2 weeks, and her tendency to stick her head up and brace. She quickly learned to stretch correctly forward and down which is fundamental to any horse. Over a longer period of time, she learned to soften the neck and lift the thoracic sling, and lost the rotation of the rib cage to the left as her body became straight. Her topline built significantly and the freedom of her movement improved in all gaits.