Ground work and bonding help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-08-2013, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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Ground work and bonding help

I own a 20 year old Thoroughbred Quarter horse mix geldling named Rusty. (in the picture) I currently lunge him but need other ground work to work on so him and I don't get bored. I would like to bond with him by working on ground work. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-08-2013, 01:27 PM
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BlueSpark gave me this list to work on with mine:

I was going through the list with my daughters 6 year old quarter horse yesterday and immediately noticed SEVERE gaps that could be dangerous if not corrected on the very first task - leading

She is buddy sour and started throwing a fit when I got her to the far side of the pasture, she started throwing her head and running around me on the lead, even bucked once or twice -- so I will probably spend the next year on both horses doing all of these tasks until they are perfect.

basic ground work:
-leading very well
-loads in a trailer
-yields hind and fore quarters, drops head when asked, side passes from the ground, backs well
-stands tied quietly
-leads over obstacles, away from the barn and other horses alone.
-ponies from another horse

saddle/bridle work:
- stands for bridling.
- thoroughly desensitized to ropes, the saddle pad and then the saddle(including flapping stirrups, etc)
- stands to be saddled
- flexes when pressure is applied to the reins(from the ground) from side to side, familiar with "whoa" when you apply bit pressure and ask for a stop.
- ponied and done groundwork when saddled
- Ground drives well, where ever you choose to drive her, down the road, around the field, etc.
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post #3 of 12 Old 12-08-2013, 01:36 PM
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Some other things that may help is "clicker training." basically cute little tricks and the such like holding a bell in the mouth, and then graduate to ringing it. Bowing etc. It's like working, building trust but not necessarily being ridden.

Introduction to some "trail class" basics, even if you aren't doing trail challenges are also a fun way to mix things up. Walking over poles, or even a tarp can build trust. You can take 4 poles and make an L shape on the ground with walking space in between and work on walking and turning the corner without stepping out of them, or even backing through them.

Don't be afraid to use your imagination. The more different things you do, the more trust you gain which helps lead to a bond and being a good leader for your horse. Also, it helps make them a more rounded and less spooky individual.
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-08-2013, 02:36 PM
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At this age, I would lay off of the lunging. Hard on old joints and bones.
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post #5 of 12 Old 12-11-2013, 09:26 PM
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Clicker training is a good idea - it may seem like silly tricks but it teaches your horse how to learn, how to problem solve, and to enjoy your interaction.

I would also do some work at liberty. If you have a roundpen that's the best place, but if not just spend time in your horse's field, watching how your horse behaves around other horses and seeing if your horse is interested in you when he's not on a leadrope or lunge line.

Work on leading so that you aren't even using your leadrope. What I mean by that is your horse walks when you walk, trots when you jog, and stops when you stop, without pulling on the rope. This teaches the horse to pay attention and stay with your movement.

Just have fun with it! In my opinion, that's what groundwork is about
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-11-2013, 09:41 PM
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He's absolutely gorgeous!!

I agree with others, really anything that you do to interact with him will help you bond as long as you make it a positive experience.

Teach him a little trick or something, and work on general manners if you feel like there are little things that need tweaking.

For instance, with the mare that I lease her owner and I both agreed that she needs work with bridling (I'm 5'2 and she's a 16.2 hh friesian, so I can't reach when her head goes up). We both worked with her on it, and I honestly find that it has helped a lot and she's a lot less stressed when we tack up because she knows what we expect from her now.

I've also been teaching her how to smile, if I'm killing time waiting to be able to get her out of the barn (if others are on the cross ties behind me or whatnot). It's fun for me, and it creates a positive association for her because now she sees me as the one who gives her cookies if she behaves right.
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-15-2013, 03:12 PM
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This website is amazing for training and bonding tips: Training Tips
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-17-2013, 02:37 PM
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Clinton Anderson has a lot of groundwork and desensitizing exercises that keep things interesting. He has a training show on the RFTV network called Downunder Horsemanship. I do a lot of groundwork with my 4 yo Mustang building trust and respect. We have come a long way just in a couple months. I like to mix it up too with obstacles such as those mentioned. Logs, tarps, wood to simulate a bridge, ground poles, etc. I also desensitized to umbrellas, bells, cones, etc. You could take him to the trails if you have a trailer and he loads well and practice groundwork such as the sending exercise over different obstacles. If he's uncertain don't push just let him face it then retreat and keep going back to it closer each time but being sure to retreat and release the "pressure" each time you go close until he relaxes. I know Pat Parelli has good exercises too, I just lean toward Anderson. Just personal preference.
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-24-2013, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexandra V View Post
He's absolutely gorgeous!!

I agree with others, really anything that you do to interact with him will help you bond as long as you make it a positive experience.

Teach him a little trick or something, and work on general manners if you feel like there are little things that need tweaking.

For instance, with the mare that I lease her owner and I both agreed that she needs work with bridling (I'm 5'2 and she's a 16.2 hh friesian, so I can't reach when her head goes up). We both worked with her on it, and I honestly find that it has helped a lot and she's a lot less stressed when we tack up because she knows what we expect from her now.

I've also been teaching her how to smile, if I'm killing time waiting to be able to get her out of the barn (if others are on the cross ties behind me or whatnot). It's fun for me, and it creates a positive association for her because now she sees me as the one who gives her cookies if she behaves right.
Where do I start on teaching him a trick?
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-25-2013, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sorrel Thoroughbreds View Post
Where do I start on teaching him a trick?
Depends on what trick you want to teach him! I find the easiest one to start with is "smile" where they lift up their lip. What I did to teach that to my mare was firstly find a treat that she likes. Then, you need to find a way to get the horse to lift the lip - either hold the treat far enough that he has to reach for it, or tickle the lip with your finger as he goes for the treat. You can couple a command with it where you say it right before he does what you want him to, and then reward him as soon as he does what you want.

Start out small - reward any kind of lip movement at first, and then when he gets the idea slowly start to only reward the better ones. Eventually he'll get it!

"If you act like you've only got fifteen minutes, it will take all day. Act like you've got all day, it will take fifteen minutes."
-Monty Roberts
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