Horse Training, Ground Work Part Three, provided by eXtension

Uploaded by eXHorses on 21.08.2009

The next thing we want to do is make sure the horse will back out of our space.
There are several different ways that we can do this.
One of the most effective ways is to just pull back on the halter,
and again, we're teaching the horse to yield to pressure,
and as we do this, in all these exercises we have talked about rhythm.
We need to understand the horse's response to rhythm, so when the horse walks backward, I will try to get in rhythm with it.
And my legs will move with the horse's front legs.
So if I want to speed up the action, I increase the speed of my steps, and that makes the horse go back faster.
So this horse is doing it quietly, relaxed, and we certainly want to try to maintain that.
We always try to maintain a good partnership with the horse, and get the horse to be a dance partner
and not have the horse afraid of us. The horse needs to be respectful, but
and need not be afraid, because when it's afraid, it basically shuts down and thinks about
getting away, running, whatever, defending itself,protecting itself, and would not think about what it has to do.
Another thing that we want, in addition to lateral flexion when we pull the horse around on the side,
we also want vertical flexion.
We can do that as we demonstrated before, usually if we hold the halter, and put a little pressure, with our fingertips,
at the poll, and we press until the horse lowers its head.
A lot of times the horse will kind of tolerate that pressure, so this is something that must be repeated,
over and over. There.
When the horse lowers its head, I would just give it a minute to think about that,
and I will not bug it. I will not go right back to the same thing.
So after a minute, we start again. I just want to hold the halter to ask the horse to hold its head straight.
Now I'm pressing with my fingertips and my fingernails, she's pinning her ears a little bit,
sometimes, there. You don't want to just push the head down, you want to put pressure and let them get away from the pressure.
We want to just continue working with this until the horse learns that when it lowers its head
you're going to leave it alone. Again, we're always working, whatever way we put pressure,
whether it's steady pressure, where we're pushing on the poll, or whether it's pressure that comes in a rhythm,
we want the horse to know that it has to do something when we apply pressure.
I think that's the basic of ground work. You could send your horse over obstacles to make it more challenging,
you could even back up over poles, you start working with the halter, you could put a bridle in his mouth,
and work one rein at a time, but basically this is how we begin at getting our horse to be better at groundwork.
Everything we do on the ground, transfers to the saddle.
Howard Cormier basically explained the ground work exercises and things we get in control of our horse with,
The thing we want to do is think of that in terms of how we relate that to ride a horse
and the other things that we do. Basically we want to get control of this horse's face,
control his shoulder, his belly, and his hip. When we get on him,
everything that we do has to do with begin able to control his shoulder, so we can move the shoulder over a step,
we can reach back here and move his hip around, or we can push him straight sideways by having a spot
right in the middle, so we can get a sidepass.
Ultimately when we get on the horse we're going to have three buttons,
to control his shoulder, control his belly, and control his hip,
and we're going to have control of his face. If we've got those things, we're going to have a pretty good riding horse.
Now, the other thing that we want to think about, for those young people who are interested in showmanship,
we've got all of the basic concepts for showmanship.
In showmanship we lead at a walk and a trot, we stop, we back up, turn around and set up.
So we've got this horse where he's leading, we can turn him around,
and we can get our showmanship turn around simply by doing this,
or, we can go to the other side and get the showmanship turn around going the other direction.
And we have to do a little practice, but ultimately we'll be able to control his shoulder.
In some of the advanced showmanships now they are starting to do things such as move the hip,
so we're going to go back here and ask the horse to move his hip around, and keep his shoulder straight,
So we've got that kind of control.
Alright, so if we're doing a showmanship pattern, and we walk or trot
to a certain place, we stop, we turn him around, walk across someplace else, stop,
back him up, we've got all the control mechanisms that we need to develop a showmanship horse.
Now, this mare has never been in a halter class or showmanship, but she's got the controls that's needed to do that.
Now the only other thing that you need to do is to be able to set the horse up.
to set their feet square. The only other thing we have to add to our program to finish the showmanship horse,
is to be able to move their feet. So what we're going to do is pull down on the halter an move the hind feet,
We're going to let the right hind foot be a set foot, we're going to move this left hind foot,
move it forward, move it back, move it forward,
move it back, until this horse starts to find that spot in the middle that we want for showmanship. She set her toe in the right place,
then we're going to pick up on her head, and ask her to move her front feet, by taking our toe
bumping this foot around, until this horse learns to set it in a position we want them to.
And then we've got her set up. So with our groundwork, we can lead him, back him up,
turn him around, move his hip, and then all we've got to do is teach him to set his feet,
and we've got a showmanship horse. With a little practice, in 2 or 3 months, this mare could be really shiny in showmanship,
so the groundwork relates to a lot of different things, either just getting the horse safe and comfortable,
secondly, being able to show in showmanship, or being able to do a lot of the other things.
Some of the shows now are starting to have trail classes on the ground where you send your horse over obstacles
through obstacles, back them through "L"s, and those kind of things,
and they're having the 2-year-old pleasure futurities on the ground on a longe line,
or yearling futurities, so that you walk, trot, and lope them in both directions,
just get more control on the ground, get more control of the horse, and all that translates
to what we do on the horse. Everything we do in terms of controlling the face, shoulder, hip,
and the belly on the ground, relates directly to what we want to do when we get on his back.