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Moxie 10-05-2008 05:30 PM

Ground Work
So, as I was looking through the local paper online last night, I noticed there was an add for a stable that is located like 6 miles from me. I called them up to see what kind of lessons they provided.

As it turns out, they don't DO riding lessons, but they do round pen lessons, ground work; with their horses, and as it so happens, they use Paso Fino's for these lessons.

Although I was a bit disappointed that they didn't do lessons, I did sign up for my first ground work lesson set for tomorrow.

So, is there anything I should know before I venture out to my first ground work lesson tomorrow? Anything about the Paso breed I should know? I've never seen or been near one (that I know of), so this will be a new experience all around for me.

Equina 10-05-2008 06:03 PM

How FUN!!

Do you have your own horse at home to practice your newly acquired groundwork skills with? If you do, watch for the small details while you work with him/her (or if not, watch your lesson horse closely). Watch for things like licking lips/chewing, yawning, ear movements, very slight body movements, noises, snorts, or deep breaths. Your instructor will be able to interpret this body language for you if you don't already know what they mean. You'll be amazed and what your horse tells you when you're actually listening...or, well, looking. :D

I recently started doing more groundwork with my horse using the Parelli system. Of course, this DVD system will be nothing compared to your one-on-one instructor training! I'm jealous! Anyways, on my 2nd day with Parelli, my horse was doing well, then after about 45 minutes, he started yawning repeatedly! I just thought he must be tired and finished up quickly, then put him to bed. That night I watched the next DVD in my Parelli set and Linda Parelli mentioned that often a horse will be riled up on adrenaline and then after you do your groundwork games, he'll calm down. She said, as he's coming off the adrenaline, he'll often yawn! Wow! I had no idea what this meant when my horse was yawning, but I had noticed the sign.

My advice to you in your new lessons: ask LOTS of questions and remember, slow and consistent always wins! If you ask your lesson horse to do something, and he doesn't do it, it's probably because you asked wrong! =) Ask your instructor (who speaks your language :wink: ) to ensure that you asked the horse properly to do what you wanted. Ask the horse consistently in the right way and your horse will get it soon enough (as a lesson horse, he probably will give his best try very quickly...he's used to people not asking *quite* right).

Sorry, I don't have much experience with Paso Finos to give you any advice on them. But, if you like the horse they team you with, I'd ask to ALWAYS get to work with the same horse. You'll develop a better bond and be able to go further in your groundwork together. Otherwise, each lesson you'll just be meeting new horses and playing the "who's alpha" game each lesson.

Have fun and wear comfy shoes!

Moxie 10-05-2008 06:13 PM

I don't have my own horse at home, but the over all goal is to have one, one day. I do riding lessons at a different barn than where I am going to tomorrow. I've asked there to do some ground work, but I haven't gotten around to it. Maybe it would be worth a shot to try both barns and compare to see who I like the best.

The man that I talked to said that there is so much to learn, and listen when working with the horses, and it'll most likely improve my riding as well as my communication with my riding horse.

He also said that he had worked with John Lyons, so apparently he's some type of big wig? I dunno. It'll be interesting to see what I take away from my lesson tomorrow.

Do they recommend working with your horse for only 45 mins at a time? I only ask this because my lesson is only 45 mins long tomorrow.

Equina 10-05-2008 06:32 PM

I think that will be good for you to take riding lessons at one place, and groundwork lessons at the other! It's always good to learn from a variety of teachers!!

Yeah, John Lyons is a natural horsemanship "big wig." :D In line with Pat & Linda Parelli, Buck Branaman, Monty Roberts, Clinton Anderson, etc etc etc. They all kind of are based on the same principles...listen to your horse, communicate with your horse, develop a bond with your horse, and great things will happen. Many people prefer one trainer's methods over another, and some hate them all! =)

I've found that doing groundwork with my horse helps him with his undersaddle training as well. I can learn to ask him to do something from the ground (for example, turn on the haunches), and then later ask him in a similar manner from the saddle (and he did a much better turn than he had in the past!)

I haven't heard of there being a 45 minute maximum (or minimum) for groundwork sessions. I either do just a little groundwork if I plan to also ride...or, when I'm only doing to do groundwork, I quickly go over the groundwork that we had learned in the previous session, and then I'll maybe introduce one or two new things for the day. If I'm doing something that's very complicated for my horse, I'll only do that one new thing, and hopefully we'll get some progress. If ever I get frustrated, and we can't accomplish something new in a session, I just go back a step, and do something simple that we've already mastered, and end the session on a good note!

Man, I'm really rambling here...time for me to just go and head out to the barn!

Zab 10-05-2008 06:43 PM

I recommend less than half an hour per time :P it gets a lot for the mind to work with, and it's better not to bore them.

kickshaw 10-05-2008 07:43 PM

I think that type of groundwork training is extremely useful. You will learn TONS about how horses communicate - what they understand - what they don't - when they're saying "forget you" and when they're trying to learn.

I would wear some comfy shoes - - you'll be moving a lot ;)

45 mins sounds like a great length for this type of lesson!

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