Originally Posted by newhorsemom
What type of groundwork exercises would you recommend? Not necessarily for the posters problem but just in general (other than lunging). I lunge prior to riding about 1/2 of the time and then only for about 5 minutes or so. Like you, I like to see how my horse is feeling before riding. My 7-year old daughter will also do some groundwork but nothing intense. Usually leading around at a walk and a trot, turning around, backing up, etc. I do it to maintain a good relationship between my daughter and our horse and I have to admit the groundwork really does help! That horse will often follow her around like she is on the lead rope even when she isn't - kind of like a puppy dog!
I always use the Parelli 7 games. It's basic enough where it's easy to remember, yet it's thorough enough to get the horse well tuned into you.
The 7 games are basic "games" (or groundwork excersizes) that horses will play with each other....and yes I have seen horses do them and it's quite fun to watch hehe. The lead horse will often do it with the other horses, but horses low in the pecking order will do it with other horses also.
I don't lunge my horse as in make them canter around and around to get any jumps or bucks out of them....I believe that all it does is get the horse more crazy and panicy. I have done lunging before and I've lunged Sonny in the past (for that reason...to get them not as crazy and to get bucks out) and it just made my horse crazier and not relaxed at all.
What your daughter is doing is great! I like to be able to take ANY part of my horses body and move it towards me and away from me....to be able to make him go into a small space and come out without bumping against anything. My reason for that is if there ever comes a situation where I NEED to be able to move his hind-quarters away from me, but his front legs stay where they are (no can't think of a reason lol) that I can do so quickly, easily, and without stress on my horse.
Groundwork is harder for some horses....mine has trust issues (but then again he was gelded when he was 7 so heaven knows how he was treated when he was a stallion) so some groundwork stuff that I do can really frighten him.