Ground work - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 03-24-2011, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Ground work

To lunge or not to lunge? I am wondering if any of you that train your own horses lunge them or not? I am trying to work up my horse to ride and I have been lunging her, she seems to calm down some but I just dont know when to saddle her. As in when is enough lunging and when is she ready to be riden?

Shes seven but was never properally trained, she allows you to put a saddle on her and get on but she doesnt really listen to your while your up there. She tries to be in control when you ride, and I dont know how to break that. Maybe round-penning?

Plus my horse is really smart so she gets bored easily. Is there any routines or drills I can do on the ground (so she doesnt get bored) and will work up to riding her?

Someone please help!
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post #2 of 10 Old 03-24-2011, 01:24 PM
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You will want your horse to do everything from the ground that you will want her to do from the saddle. So, she must go forward easily, stop on command, go left,right, speed up slow down , lower her head , move her shouldler over, move hind over, back up. What did I miss?
So, those things should be real solid before you put yourself in the saddle.
If you don't know how to do those things, it's more than I could explain here and it is something you do best with someone helping you, or at least after watching some videos. There are many series in breaking a hrose to saddle, if that is what you need. Sounds like the horse has no real training, so it would't hurt to go back and work with her as if she were an unbroke to saddle hrose.
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post #3 of 10 Old 03-24-2011, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Okay and yes i want to watch some videos and read some articles so if you could help me find some it wuold be much help!
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post #4 of 10 Old 03-24-2011, 01:47 PM
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I have to lunge my barrel horse before I ride her because she has too much energy for her own good. I think lunging is a great thing to know. I'm certainly not perfect at it, but it's really not that hard to learn.

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post #5 of 10 Old 03-24-2011, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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I know how to lunge I just wanted your opinions on whether or not it works. I know somewhat what I'm doing just I didnt know what has worked for people in the past.. ya know?
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post #6 of 10 Old 03-24-2011, 02:36 PM
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What you mean by "lunge" is probably, your horse going around you in a circle, right, say 10-12 feet away? You can get away WITHOUT doing that, in my opinion. But the kind of lunging I think tinyliny means is to have your horse MOVE, not necessarily trot or anything, about 4-8 feet away. This is more often called ground work, but it's a slower, step-by-step lunging, and you should do a lot of it at this stage.

I would go ahead and saddle but leave a halter under the bridle. Then, whatever I do on the ground, like yield her head to the rein, I'd then get on, and do it from the saddle. Then get off again.

Keep the lessons short, specific, and afterwards, see if you can't go for a leisurely, no-stress ride. (It's so disappointing if you can't ride at all! But I found with my horse, when I re-started her, the slow, step-by-step minutes were well worth it in relaxing her.)
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-24-2011, 03:00 PM
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Too many people think that lunging is having the horse circle you. It is more about controling where your horse goes and changing directions. Having the horse go around in circles will burn off energy but will get boring for the human and the horse. Changing directions, you are showing the horse that it needs to listen and that it needs to pay attention. Also that you are in control of the horse and where the horse puts its hooves. This is where you gain respect from the horse.

I agreee with tinyliny that whatever you want the horse to do undersaddle, teach them on the ground. When they are good at it on the ground, then you can start undersaddle. That's not saying you can't start desensitizing undersaddle because that is part of groundwork. Just not to start riding.

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post #8 of 10 Old 03-24-2011, 03:30 PM
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The next step after simple lunging isn't just putting a saddle on and getting up there. There are a few intermediate steps that were skipped.

First, increase the challenge on the longe line. Does she go through the gaits when you tell her to? Does tirn when you tell her to? Once these are accomolished, you can move on to a surcingle and bit and gt her to the point that she does exactly what you want while bitted up so that her head ious set where it would be if you rode her. Next there's putting a saddle on and repeating. Then, there's ground driving, which is like riding without being on the horse. After all of th at, then you can work on getting on her. I'm sure I've skipped something in my thought process, but that's the gist of it.

You'll find differing opinions on details, but the common theme is to get her to a point where she is doing exactly what you want as if you were riding, you're just doing it all from the ground.

I'm sure there are many helpful books and videos, but I don't know what they are. I've learned everything I do from years of experience and with my friend who has been training and breaking horses for years.
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post #9 of 10 Old 03-24-2011, 04:34 PM
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Hi Prairie,

I don't have a specific book in mind. I , too, learned from other people (the best way to learn) and just kind of a bit here , a bit there. I have never started a horse from zero, so I dont' have that much experience with the entire process. There are a lot of videos out there. They cost money.

I really like Jonathon Field. His way of explaining is really direct and easy to understand and he seems to be very positive. on his website there may be info for videos. If you cannot get a trainer's help, then be prepared to spend several hundred dollars for a set of videos to show you some of the excersizes to work with your horse.

The reason for these excersizes is two fold; one that your horse learns how to respond to pressure (leg or bit or seat, etc.) in the way you want.
Two, gets your horse's MIND on YOU!!!
That is where lunging your horse around and around may not always be helpful. It tends to have the hrose tune out. There are people who are very good at this kind of lunging and the work WITH the horse; changing speed, gathering and extending the horse, working on bend. All things that keep the horse with them mentally. If you just want your horse to go around and get their yayas out, that is what they will do, but YOU will be nowhere in their brain. If you then tack up without making some sort of connection, your horse is still mentally outside of your sphere. You have to bring their mind back to you.
If my horse , at 16 hh and 1200 lbs of intense muscle, is mentally far away, I am scared! I want to at very least , have the feeling that he has not left me .
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-24-2011, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! Its much help!
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