Rascal (four-year-old pony gelding) has come a long way in only about two weeks. I rode him twice before decided that we should take it to the ground for a while. He had issues with the bit -- he had no whoa, no stand, braced/drifted severely through turns, and ran off when you tried to mount. He was incredibly hyper and had no attention span.
After a week of getting use to the routine around the barn and re-learning to tie patiently, bathe, accept fly spray, and pick up feet, he calmed down significantly. He was no longer as hot and high about everything.
This past week we've been doing actual work on the ground. Backing, moving hindquarters, flexing, leading, and lunging. I also would flex him on the ground in his bridle.
Yesterday I tacked him up and ground drove him. He was so different then he is undersaddle. He was constantly paying attention, had a wonderful soft mouth, good whoa, a decent but crooked back.
Most of all, he STOOD without a fight. Undersaddle, he refuses to stand still at all.
What is it about being undersaddle that makes these good things all go away? He's a totally different horse when you're on his back. Or, possibly, what is it about ground driving that makes him feel obliged to behave?
Also, is all this ground work I'm doing going to help him undersaddle? Will it translate? What else can I do to help my fidgety pony calm down and listen while riding?