Is groundwork the answer to all? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 19 Old 09-23-2010, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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I believe groundwork has its place, but it is not the only way to settle a horse. I do just enough groundwork with her that she listens. I personally long line the most. I have worked with my mare to the point she will go off voice commands and back up while lunging. I use the lunge to put her focus on me before a ride or even when she just needs exercise. I would rather use groundwork as a bonding tool than forcing a horse to do what you want. As was posted above, time and milage is what helps a horse.
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post #12 of 19 Old 09-23-2010, 11:52 AM
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I believe groundwork is essential in the communication between horse and rider.

I ALWAYS practice groundwork. This doesnt mean that everytime I ride, I take my horse out and do "groundwork" for 30 minutes before my ride. Not at all. But any time I am near my horse, I make sure to communicate with them on the ground. If I step near their hindquarters, they better move them away from where I am. Your horse should always be aware of YOU when you are near them.

If the horse responds to you and respects you on the ground, they will do so under saddle. If I am working with a horse that does well responding to me on the ground, I dont see a need to set aside extra time to tend to "groundwork".

If I am working with a horse who could care less where I am or isnt responding to me if I ask them to step back or move away from me, etc., you BET that I will address that prior to getting on them.

Its just a lack of respect plain and simple and I dont even want to go any further with that horse until we have established that they are not going to disrespect me.
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post #13 of 19 Old 09-23-2010, 12:15 PM
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I think ground work can help emmensely, in some situations; you are able to get her feet to move, and to get her attention fully on you, without the concern of getting thrown, or having her react in any other way that could get you hurt from above.

I will normally do a brief 'mental' check of any horse I ride, especially if I am unfamiliar with it...I just do a little bit of lunging, hip and shoulder yielding, and some backing up. Just enough to make sure the horse is focused on me...I don't think ground work is ever a bad thing to do, even with a seasoned horse, as it is an easy way to prepare yourself for the ride itself, and helps you make sure the horse is paying attention to you, and not everything else around him. It is also an easy way to keep their ground manners, themselves, in check. It doesn't have to be alot of work, and actually I wouldn't want to see someone with a fairly seasoned horse, out there for hours on end "just" doing ground work...make sure there is a reason for it, and keep it as brief as it needs to be. If he needs it, fine, but don't carry it out forever.

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post #14 of 19 Old 09-23-2010, 12:22 PM
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I'm a huge groundwork advocate. Makes all the difference in the world for my girl and I. My main objective is building trust and bonding....

"All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and she'll listen to me allll day."
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post #15 of 19 Old 09-23-2010, 12:31 PM
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Groundwork is useful in a situation like you gave in your example. It sounds like a few minutes got your mare to focus and settle down. I have one that I do a little bit of the same kinds of groundwork with because she tries to walk off when I get on. I work on getting my show gelding to focus on me every time I lead him.

Groundwork doesn't have to be complicated or long, and it definitely has its place, but if something can be handled from the saddle, that's the way I prefer to do it.

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post #16 of 19 Old 09-23-2010, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by smrobs View Post
For each person and horse it will be different. I personally don't do much (if any) groundwork with a horse past the very green, first few rides stage. However, I have the knowledge and ability to deal with almost anything under saddle. While I don't particularly agree with catering to a spookish horse, not everyone has any business trying to actually get on one that is acting like that. Groundwork can help with a lot of things but no, it isn't an answer for everything. If the groundwork helps your mare to be calm and relax, then that's what's important. You need to do what you think benefits you and your mare. If you aren't interested in doing groundwork every day, then don't. If you want to give it a shot, then do. Whatever you do, if done correctly, won't hurt your mare at all.
I agree with this. Each horse is different but at some point you have to swing a leg and work the horse under saddle. I do very very little ground work also past the green stage. Just not a lot of need for it. As I can teach the horse better under saddle.

Good basics on the ground do not 100% translate into the saddle. I do not wish to have to retrain my horse once I get on so I just start there. I am sure that for some getting the horse doing these things on the ground is a lot better. However I personally have not found that to be true. I have a much easier time calming a horse under saddle then I do on the ground. I give them a job make them move around more them just a small circle. Once they have that job most horses calm right down.

Your horse probable calmed down not just b/c she could see everything but also had a job to do and taker her mind off what was scarring her.

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post #17 of 19 Old 09-23-2010, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by nrhareiner View Post
Your horse probable calmed down not just b/c she could see everything but also had a job to do and taker her mind off what was scarring her.

Learning never stops
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post #18 of 19 Old 09-23-2010, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by nrhareiner View Post
Your horse probable calmed down not just b/c she could see everything but also had a job to do and taker her mind off what was scarring her.

I will bet she would of settled down had you been given an under saddle exercise to practice too.

You were probably a bit nervous too. While I am not big into 'bonding', I do believe when the horse is attached to us via a leadrope or rein, they need to understand we are in charge. If they sense we are nervous or excited - they will be too. When the instructor took her to use for the demonstration - she had confidence - she communicated that to your mare.
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post #19 of 19 Old 09-23-2010, 12:39 PM
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While a lot of the things you do on the ground will help under saddle, I treat groundwork and saddlework as independent things.

The thing they have in common is communication.

The way you communicate with a horse on the ground is different from the way you communicate with them while they are under saddle.

I definitely agree that you need to get on the horse to accomplish certain things, but nothing can substitute for groundwork. In the wild, horses dont communicate with each other by riding each other =)
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