Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Alberta, Canada
I have started horses with and without ground driving, and I think ground driving is a very effective tool when done correctly. I agree with what has been said about getting a horse used to giving to the bit before driving. I ALWAYS start a horse in a bit, typically a single jointed or double jointed full cheek snaffle. this type if snaffle wont pull through the mouth and gives simple, clear directional cues. The odd time I might find a horse that really prefers something else, but 99% its a good bit to start with. Even if you never intend to use a bit, you want to spend the rest of its life in a hackamore, bosal or side pull, starting with a bit is important. Years down the road you may have to switch to a bit, or the horse may have to be sold, in which case a horse that can ride in a snaffle already is important.
Before ground driving my horses always respond appropriately to pressure, know basic ground work, like being able to send your horse forward, as Cherie mentioned, basic lunging(although I lunge my horses very little), are comfortable with a bit, saddle and all other appropriate tack(always a fully rigged western saddle with breast collar and back cinch), and have been round penned at a w/t/canter with it on. They are familiar with how a bit works, flex side to side, stop, back and turn with bit pressure. Then I ground drive. First in a small pen, then out in the open, in a variety of scenarios.