Ground work?

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Ground work?

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  • How long should you work a horse
  • Teach horse to ground yield

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    03-05-2012, 07:10 PM
Ground work?


As I look around this forum I see lots of suggestions for people to do groundwork.
I would like to know exactly what groundwork you should do, how often and what?

Curly :)
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    03-05-2012, 09:51 PM
Depends on the horse.
How long is a piece of string??

Your basic groundwork essentials are having the horse yield from pressure, and not walk all over you, then some desensitising work on top of that.
I like do a lot of work getting my horses to yield their shoulders, quarters, head, neck, and to back up and walk forward from a very light cue. I also teach them to give immediately to halter pressure on the nosse and poll, which is an essential for them learning to hard tie.
SkyeDawn and DraftyAiresMum like this.
    03-05-2012, 09:57 PM
Groundwork can be anything from yields and basic leading to higher energy work such as jumping. It can be an amazing tool to build a respectful relationship.
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    03-05-2012, 10:02 PM
Thanks, Curly is very respectful ties amazingly and is not spooky she can walk around with a tarp over her face as I'm leading her she has recently gotten over some of her aversion to water and she yields to pressure.

What is hard tieing Kayty?
Prinella when you say jumping do you also jump the jump?
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    03-05-2012, 10:09 PM
I am one of those who is huge on ground work...much of training "holes" can be traced back to a lack of proper groundwork and disrespect starting right there. I have trained horses since I was young, and the person who trained me, was also huge into ground work; and she was right...if you can't get a horse to move off pressure on the ground, how do you expect him to do so undersaddle? If you can't get him to move past scarey objects on the ground, how do you propose to do so undersaddle, so on and so forth. There is ALOT you can do on the ground to build a horse's confidence, and respect for you as his leader just on groundwork alone. If you are having issues undersaddle, then take some time to work him on the ground...and I bet when you return undersaddle, you won't have nearly as much issue with the horse, simply because you worked out those kinks of respect and confidence on the ground.

As far as exercises...again, unlimited. From lungeing, to sending exercises, to desensitizing, to yielding off of pressure; front, hind, and sides. You can work him over obstacles, through water, etc...just get creative! When I do obstacles, I don't go over them with the horse, I use sending exercises to send the horse over them.
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    03-05-2012, 10:17 PM
Hard tying is tying the horse to a fixed object, rather than to twine. A horse should be trained well enough to give to pressure on the poll when they pull back - tying to twine will often teach a horse to pull back from pressure because if they pull hard enough, the twine breaks, the pressure is released, and they can wander off.
    03-05-2012, 10:28 PM
Oh ok, I usually tie to twine but I also tie to the float and sometimes the fence she also ground ties (mostly)
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    03-07-2012, 09:24 AM
It depends on the horse.

My two are 16 and 9 and I rarely do much in the way of ground work because it's all been done and they know it. I do hand walk them at least 5 minutes under saddle, that is just habit now from my mare who needs to be girthed up in increments (I can only tighten it one hole at a time, with walking in between). They get all their stretches done (front legs, hind legs, tail stretch and carrot stretches) in the crossties or their stall before heading out to ride, if that counts. The stretches are "prescribed" by my sport chiropractor.

One QH mare I work with, I longe before every ride. She had a broken neck as a youngster that has left her so crooked she is literally "S" shaped nose to tail if you look at her from above. She never stretches "cold" but works on the longe for 20 minutes or so first before she can stretch. I also do in-hand shoulder-ins and TOF with her, I have just gotten to this point because it took her 10 months to figure out that whips are not just for abusing her. When the weather is nice I also walk her up and down the road by the barn, for years she had not been ridden or handled and only really saw the inside of her stall and the turnout paddock, so she acts goofy away from her two safe havens, I like to go out on a long lead rope in the summer and let her graze in between working on little in hand things like yielding to pressure, etc. It's good for her mind and gets her more comfortable outside of her own little comfort zone.

The 22yo arab mare I ride gets a looong walk before I hop on, she is a bit creaky from her long dual career life (dressage AND reining, cool little mare!!). No holes in this gals training, she's absolutely lovely all around.
    03-16-2012, 04:41 PM
Originally Posted by CurlyIsASpecialStandie    

As I look around this forum I see lots of suggestions for people to do groundwork.
I would like to know exactly what groundwork you should do, how often and what?

Curly :)
I cannot tell you how much groundwork you should do, but I can tell you about my groundwork sessions with Kyra.

First of all, for me "groundwork" means: "all the training a horse gets when the trainer is on the ground".
Training IMO means:"Whenever you are insight of the horse, the horse is learning and communicating, therefor it is training."

Kyra is 3 years old (see profile) and I got her when she was 11 month old. I started with clicker training to build confidence (love goes through the stomach), the first month was all about approaching her, touching her and after 3 weeks also haltering her and tying her.

Next step was yielding for pressure. Every day I did some short groundwork/ training sessions. (Actually twice a day in the beginning. She came out of the wild. And I really had to tame her).

A session took 5 - 10 minutes, max 15 minutes at that stage. I prefer a fantastic 5 minute training above a 15 minute training with less results.

When she was 2 years old I added long reining to her scedule.
Long Reining 01 Introduction - Barnmice Equestrian Social Community (Ellen Ofstad has the same trainer as I have: Piet Bakker)

Besides that I also did a lot of desensibilisation training, and even trick training (there are some wonderful excercises to strech a horse). And it is great fun, too.

Next step was to add some work in hand to make her straight. Like this Romanesque & Marijke de Jong - YouTube! At this stage she is just 3 years old and not under saddle.

And I do a lot of "at liberty" exercises. Which is also a nice way to bond with your horse.

Even now, she is almost 4 years old, a training session of groundwork is max 30 minutes. And I always start with some groundwork to see what mindset she has today. If she is jumpy, I calm her down with exercises. If she is sleepy, I use some exercises to wake her up. :) (Oh, I really love groundwork). I am "breaking her in" under the saddle (learning how to be a good riding horse) and every training I start with some groundwork.

Like Kayty said: How long is a piece of string?
I like to add: What color is a piece of string?

So, there is not really an answer to your question because no one can see through the pc.
    03-16-2012, 05:08 PM
Thanks Hippo, my girl responds to pressure as in yielding hindquarter and fore she backs (could use some more work on the I suppose to get her to stop square) she has recently learnt to follow me through water which was a big issue before!
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