Ok... so I've heard a TON about doing groundwork with a horse. Now... I know the basic concept of it... (doing stuff on the ground with the horse, not riding the horse, yet training without riding the horse...etc).
BUT... what all does that entail? Is that like lunging? leading? Grooming? What? I'm just kind of confused about all of that.
I'm wanting to do a lot of groundwork with one of the horses at the stables, most of you have heard of Mozart. So anyways... I'm wanting to work with him... on the ground... but I have no idea how to go about it. Anybody have an idea of a good schedule for it?
it is not lunging. That's where you make the horse run in circles to get energy out, bucks out, and all the crazies out. More than half of the time lunging just makes the horse more crazy (in all the cases that I've done it)
Groundwork is a mixture of things. It lets the horse know that you are the lead horse, that he/she must respect you, as you respect the horse. It strengthens a bond between rider and horse, spending time with a horse doing fun things. Groundwork is supposed to be fun, yet beneficial to BOTH horse and rider. It's not something that can be worked on over and over and over again till the horse gets it right...that wouldn't be fun, nor would the horse want to spend time with you if all you do is work on that one thing.
Leading can be a form of groundwork, especially if your horse has problems leading. Sonny knows he's supposed to walk BEHIND me, never infront of me or by my side. It's safer for me to have him behind me. It gives me more time to react if he spooks or takes off.
I'd say do some Parelli 7 Games with Mozart. Start off with the friendly game and do that for a good while. The friendly game is mainly spending time with the horse, tossing things on his back, sitting next to him while he's grazing. Just downright bonding time. Then next is the Porcupine game. See if Mozart will turn on his haunches when you just touch his cheek bone and his neck close to his shoulders. If he won't, apply a little more pressure and pressure until he does. Whether he turns on his haunches or not, as long as he moves his front body AWAY from you, praise him, give him a treat, and move to the hind-quarter. Repeat for both sides. But remember don't over use it. The only game for Parelli that I'll over use is the Friendly Game cause whenever you are working around a horse, grooming, etc (besides for riding) it's considered the Friendly Game.
If you need more ideas and such for groundwork let me know!
Thanks! I was really confuzzled...
I'm not a big fan of Parelli. I like join-up techiques... but there's something about Parelli that seems a bit wierd and crazy. But the friendly game just seems like you're spending time with the horse. So that shouldn't be too wierd. The porcupine game seems a little... off though. Most horses lean INTO pressure, rather than against. And I like working with the horse's natural movement and mindset, rather than making the horse do things that just aren't natural, like moving away from pressure, and so on. But there's nothing wrong with "bombproofing" in my opinion.
I'll do a lot of grooming, leading, etc. I highly doubt that anyone would mind if I just work the horse in his field, or in his stall. I can't go off with them unless I have express permission (and I'm terrified of asking... :P).
I'll probably ask more about stuff really soon. For now... I need to find some decent rags and brushes that I can use for grooming. *sigh* I can BEG my mom... :P
Lunging (on a lungeline) is a form of groundwork as it also is a training tool. Lunging is not supposed to tire the horse out before you get on, or to make him/her get out all the craziness. Lunging is used to get the horse to listen and focus on you.
Since lunging is working on a relatively small circle, it's reccomended not to lunge your horse for over half an hour or for more than twice a week.
I have only recently learned how to lunge a horse on the lungeline and it has been one of the most helpful things I've learned. My horse's voice commands used to be somewhat iffy and now they are much more solid. She also isn't as nervous about the whip anymore. I lunge with side reins and whenever I ride the day after a lunging session, she is so light in my hands. Lunging is perfect for the days when you can't ride due to an injury, lack of time, or whatnot. It also helps you see things in the horse's movement, like if they're picking up the correct lead in both the front and hind legs in the canter.
As for leading exercises, they can be a lot of fun! :) But tiring at times. xD I've learned a different way than SonnyWimps, and that is to have the horse at your side with their head or shoulder at your shoulder. If they are behind you and spook, you'll just be run over. And if they're behind you, you can't see if they're staring at something that might possible spook them. A great exercise when doing leading work is to get the horse to stop when you stop and to walk forward when you walk forward. They should be taking that first step with you, so sometimes you have to make a really huge step that they can see. And then when stopping, don't just stop abruptly, take shorter steps then completely stop. You can also jog and trot the horse and you can go over trotting poles, little jumps, and go between obstacles.
I believe that you should teach your horse to move away from pressure, even if it is not their natural reaction. If you ever end up in a stall between a horse and a wall, you want to be able to apply pressure to it's side and to have the horse move away and not squish you further. it's also a way of the horse respecting your space. If you tie up your horse, but it's standing too close to something so that you can't properly groom him/her, you'll want to be able to push his/her shoulder or haunches away from you so that you can get the job done. or what about backing up your horse while doing leading groundwork? You don't want the horse moving towards the pressure on his/her chest, you want him/her to move back. That's just my opinion, because I believe it's safer.
Yes, most horses go into pressure, but you want to teach them to move away from the pressure. Having a horse move away from pressure is not un-natural...a horse will move away from pressure when the lead horse puts pressure on him...YOU are the lead horse, so when you put ANY bit of pressure on the horse, he is to respect you and move away from it.
It's not "natural" to put a bit in their mouth, it's not "natural" to clean their feet, it's not "natural" to worm a horse, it's not "natural" to put winter blankets, it's not "natural" to keep a horse in a stall all the time or part of the time....shall I go on? 99% of the things we do to a horse is not natural. There is no way to go 100% natural.
Of course there is nothing wrong with bombproofing, but neither is there anything wrong with moving away from pressure. It for some reason you have the horse in a stall, and he pins you against the wall and won't move because he's frightned or whatever, would you rather have him lean INTO pressure or move off of it?
Horses are natural followers and most of them are claustraphobic so having a person that close to them causes them to feel uncomfortable...but 90% of them won't show that they are uncomfortable.
But actually moving away from pressure IS natural. Horses are prey animals, they move away from pressure.
You want to be able to control every little inch of body on the horse. It's safer for you.
FVG, just curious, what about Parelli don't you like?
i aggree with sonnywimps and hawaiigirl. if my boy moved towards pressure i would of been squished into a door/horse/car so many times. its a safety and respect thing
Any training in which you are on the ground and not in the saddle.
Thanks guys. I was a bit confused about the pressure thing. But you cleared that up for me.
Oh... and I most likely won't be using a bit on any of my horses. I like bitless bridles, or even going bridle-less.
As for what I don't like about Parelli... way too many things. Honestly... the whole family seems like a nut-job. I don't like a lot of the supposed "games". I'm fine with most natural horsemanship... but... well... can't really explain it. Just like I can't really explain my distaste for Quarter Horses... *shrugs*
I'll be working mainly in the field with him today or tomorrow. I have no idea how much time (if any) I'll have. We have guests at our house for the next two days... so I don't know how much I'll be able to get out there.
actually if you study a horse in the wild, the lead horse will do the "7 Games" with other horses.
I'm just suggesting it cause I know it works....and everyone I know that has done it (not just tried it for one day, but stuck with it for at least a month or so) really liked it, enjoyed doing it, and could see a true change in their horse
I like lunging i think its wonderful for training and i think it's also good bonding experince.. plus teach you horse to focuse on you and all that.. ( i usally like using my fingers to point for derections cues so they constenly are watching what I'm doing )
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