Do you personally ground drive your horses at all? Do you find it a useful tool?
Could I use it with a horse that is realy anxious in the saddle for him to calm down and teach the basics to( walk, stop and turning)
I ground drive my horse before I ride him. I do this for several reasons.
He is a very very hot horse, so it helps get him into "work mode" and helps him get focused. It has helped with his anxiety as well.
I am also re-starting him after he bucked off everyone that tried to ride him when he was 4 and 5 years old. So I am starting from scratch.
He used to be very insecure and hide behind me, so ground driving is helping him learn to trust my aids by feeling.
I find that ground driving is a great step before actually riding the horse. It can also be fun to ground drive through and over obstacles like tarps, and poles.
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When I start a horse I never get on before I did some ground driving. After working them in the round pen and teaching them to face me, it's quite a difference if I expect them all in a sudden to mind me when they can not see me. This is a step I rather get them used to from the ground than when sitting in the saddle for the first time. I do start ground driving in the round pen with a double longe to get them used to the touch of the line on their back and hind legs (I use a surcingle or, better than nothing, the stirrups to keep the line off the ground). Some horses start to panic, it's important to stay calm, if they start to tangle up let go, calmly rearrange the lines and keep going. The first time is often the worst, if you quit on a good note you will be surprised how easy it is going the second time. I agree with Lins - it's real fun if they once got the hang of it and you can take them out of an enclosed area and drive them through trees, into little revines, over logs etc.
And the great thing is: when you get on the first time they do know your voice commands and your cues on the reins, keeps them much more relaxed.
Good luck with your horse!
Personally no....it seems that they get way to chin to chesty which I DON'T like. We just seem to have more problems then when we don't.
I do. I did with my mare when I started her years ago, and I have with my 2 year old who I'll be starting soon. First, I made sure the girls knew how to follow their nose and to find their release. I put them in an oversized stall with their noses tied ever so slightly around, barely enough to see their eyelashes. When they fought, they were quick to figure out that giving into pressure was actually a release for them. Then I moved onto ground driving and it seemed to make the transition a lot easier for them. Although, I wouldn't recommend this unless you know what your doing, or have someone who can physically come and help you. Horses are flight animals, so it can get a little tricky if they panic.
I really enjoy ground driving, and find it a great tool. When I was doing my horse courses, we did it during our later lunging classes, and when we were breaking in youngsters. I found that it was a great way to get a feel for the horse, and for the horse to get a feel for your hands. The only thing I don't like is when the horse is a go-go thoroughbred and tries to canter straight through your hands. I basically went skiing through the arena behind him, and eventually got him stopped with a one rein stop.
I also used it to do mouthing, and it worked wonders, especially when my mare decided that bit pressure = cue to rear and almost flip. I'm so glad that that happened whilst I was on the ground rather than in the saddle.
I think it's an invaluable tool and it can be fun, especially if, like Lins said, you take them through an obstacle course. I had my mare winding around barrels and going over wooden bridges in the arena, and it was a great experience for both of us.
Breaking them to the bit. Working on turning, stopping, backing etc from the rein pressure.
Longreining (as it is called here) is extremely good for teaching a horse to go forwards, it is a safe and efficient way of developing a mouth on a horse, the horse can learn to balance itself and develop muscle without the added complication of a rider on board. It is very very useful for nervous horses and extremely useful for teaching a horse latteral work.
My horses can all walk trot and canter a figure of 8 on command (and on the right leg in canter), leg yield, halt, reverse and shoulder in on the long reins before anyone ever even sits on them.
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