Ground driving? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-12-2010, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tampa Bay area, FL
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Ground driving?

So how do you teach a horse to ground drive?

I used to have a book that broke it down, I probably still do and I just can't find it . Anyway, I'm interested in doing it with Ice till I can get an english saddle and some lessons, and the couple times that I've tried it in the past he just doesn't understand the concept of me walking forward while I'm behind him. He tries to whip around, and then he tangles himself up in the lines and then I have to spend ten minutes untangling him. He's smart, but I just can't seem to figure out the magic cue that will make it click for him.
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-12-2010, 03:01 PM
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I just started ground driving with Nico on advice of a trainer (im sending him off in november for cart training). Here are the steps weve taken so far.

Make sure you have the right equipment. Trying to ground drive him with just a halter and a few lunge lines turned into a big mess in a hurry. I bought a used surcingle and run the lines through. I started using his halter and attatching lines to the side rings and its worked pretty well.

Get him used to lunging with both lines on. Its a bit confusing at first but just keep him moving forward around you with the inside line being the controlling line and the outside line just supporting. Keep him walking if you can...we always work on ground driving after a nice long round pen session.

Start narrowing your angles behind him. Praise him for walking. Start adding in a bit of outside pressure to keep him on the rail or the outside of the circle. Start working your way behind him. When he wants to start circling you, step back into lunging position and start over. When you finally do get behind him and he is walking, try to not push the issue...praise him and set a goal...once around the ring in each direction was mine. Once he has met it, move on to something else and come back.

Its complicated and confusing because you've got lines everywhere and your horse doesn't understand. It takes time and patience and determination. There are a few decent videos on youtube explaining it if you need a visual. I am by NO means a professional but only passing on advice from one. Good luck! Ground driving is a great exercise!
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post #3 of 4 Old 06-13-2010, 12:45 PM
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I've taught many a horses to ground drive just using a halter and two lunge lines, and running them through the stirrups. The trick is knowing what hand to use and when and how to use it, and getting coordinated with all those lines.

When he starts to turn back, you'll have to shorten your line opposite of whatever way he is turning to straighten him back out, but not enough to make him think you're asking him to turn all the way around. You're simply blocking him from turning back towards you.
For example, if he starts to turn left towards you, you're going to pick up your right rein and straighten him out. If he over corrects and tries to go right, pick up your left line.

If he knows how to lunge he should figure out that your "clicking", or whatever cue you use for walk, means to just walk. Stay far enough back he can see you, but not too far back that you have too much slack in the lines so he gets caught up in them.

One thing I absolutely reccomend is making sure he is fine with lines flapping around under his legs (sounds like he is) so when one touches him in an odd place, he doesn't freak out and bolt.
Also be very aware of how your carrying your line - don't leave it dragging behind you or in large enough loops that you could get your foot stuck in one. IF your horse bolts and that line is behind or around you, you're going to go for one very unpleasent ride.

It's a lot of practice for both horse and rider but you'll both get it. :)
This is one of them "practice makes perfect" things, but if you've got someone who knows what they're doing to help, it'll make things that much easier.

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post #4 of 4 Old 06-13-2010, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tampa Bay area, FL
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Thanks guys! I found a driving surcingle in the tack room, the nice ones with the padding, so as long as I find a girth to fit him I can use it. I know we used to have two cotton lunge lines with nice weight to them, I only have one cheapo nylon lunge line (thats the one he would get tangled up in) that just floats around.

We used to have two people who did ground driving (one woman was our trainer and had a cart trained horse, the other used it in lieu of lunging to warm up her mare with serious mental issues) but they've both left.

So i should more try a Pessoa lunging system (wrapping one line around his back end) so that I'm next to him, to get him to start moving forward, and then gradually just move behind him?
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