06-26-2008, 12:30 PM
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The first step before ground driving is lunging. If you try to skip over lunging basics you will confuse a young horse. You can free lunge or lunge on a line. Tell me which one you plan on doing and I will give you instructions on how to teach him. After lunging, you must teach your horse to bridle. Start with either a full cheek or D ring, any other bit can be pulled through the horses mouth. I personally start with lots of treats and coating the bit because it makes it easier on the youngin. I would choose a hollow mouth snaffle, or one with little copper keys so he has something light that he can play with. Somewhere in here you have to get him used to a Surcingle, both putting it on his back and attaching it. After all of this is completed, you bring in the side reins. Attach one side rein loosely to the side that he is being lunged on. At this point you are teaching him how to "track up", or get each hind leg to follow the path of the front legs. This means his nose is pointed in towards you and it almost looks like his hind-end perpetually faces away from you. The goal is to get each hind hoof falling in the path of the first hoof. This is VERY IMPORTANT! It not only builds the back muscles so that you can ride him, but it teaches him the basis of collection and giving to pressure. Gradually, each day, you tighten a rein until his head is breaking at the verticle. You will only be attaching one side rein at a time, as young horses can get confused by both. Only after your horse can move out and stop by vocal commands, take a bit and surcingle, and be lunged with side reins without him trying to buck or break away from you is he ready to be ground driven. Let me know when this is all done and we can move on.