Horse Training: Ground Work Part One, provided by eXtension

Uploaded by eXHorses on 21.08.2009

Hello, I'm Howard Cormier with the LSU Ag Center. We'd like to talk a little bit about ground work today.
It is very important it you're going to be working with children, but it's important with adults too.
One of the first things you need to know is that the horse should be willing to just stand.
If the horse wants to move around, then you make it move around,
to the point where it gets tired and it wants to just stand. So we're going to ask this horse to move,
and she's being real good, she's willing to be quiet,
but if she wasn't good, we could just ask her to move, and we can use the tail of the lead rope
It's important that you have a lead rope with enough of a tail, and just twirl it around a little bit,
and generally they will understand that you can threaten them with that.
You need to be able to do this with both hands.
So as you begin working, don't work on only one side.
And if the horse is sensitive, you will just give a suggestion, and she stopped,
I'm going to give a suggestion again, and if she doesn't go, then I'm going to tap her shoulder.
And then by lifting the lead rope I can bring her back to me,
and she gets to compare what she just did to what I'm allowing her to do now, which is to stand.
As Dr. Depew said earlier, you have to be the dominant one.
Sometimes that will involve using the tail of a lead rope,
and it's important that you have a lead rope that is serviceable. If this were a 4 foot lead rope,
I could not reach her back end. If this were a 30 foot lead rope,
then I would have too much rope to be able to handle it.
Everything is done on a suggestion. Not at first, but as you develop your horse,
you want to just suggest, so I'm suggesting she go this way,
she doesn't know what that means, but my hand being out is a suggestion,
this strengthens the suggestion, and when she moves, my body language goes to neutral.
And again, you want to be able to do this both ways, and as soon as they move,
and do the right thing, then you reward them.
One of the first things you want to do is get a horse desensitized to the tools you'll be working with.
So if you are a little too rough with this, they will get excited.
You want to just be able to touch them all over the body with this, just swing the rope,
it goes over, and she's a little scared, so I'm going to keep going right there
I'm trying to get her to relax. I don't want to pop her with the lead.
So after we get this going good, then we will try to do it,
and she's a little nervous, so we'll just start over again.
You really don't want to quit when they move, you just want to keep doing it.
when they move, you just want to keep doing it. So if she moves, I'm just going to keep doing this,
until she realizes that she doesn't have to move.
Sometimes this will take a little while, but this is what desensitizing is all about.
She's got to figure out that my moving this rope now doesn't mean anything.
So I would just continue to do this until she gets the idea, and hold her a little close to the halter,
and I can rub her with the rope, you can shorten the rope so you're using just a small tail of it,
until she gets to the point where she knows it doesn't mean anything.
And if she continues to do this, you just continue to do it, try not to stop,
just because it bothers her, because if you stop when it bothers her,
you're telling her, 'all you have to do is put up a fuss, and that will make this unpleasant object go away.'
So we sensitize, and then we desensitize.
So now she's kinda relaxing with that a little bit.
I would do this over her neck, her back, her hindquarters, and then I could do it around her legs.
And you want to teach them if they get their legs caught in something like rope or barbed wire,
that they shouldn't be afraid of that, and that if they stand still, it will
basically not get any worse.
Eventually, you can progress with this to the point where after they get really good at this,
you want to just work the legs, and work the legs with the rope over their legs,
and get to a point where when you pull a little bit, if they give,
now she stayed calm and then she rocked forward, so I'm going to ask her to move again,
I just want her to get used to the feel of that rope, and I could help her with this
by pulling on the lead rope until she takes as step
then this one will get loose.
So you can work and get them leading with a rope on all four legs.