working both fun and effect - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-08-2011, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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working both fun and effect

How do you guys make groundwork/riding fun so the horse enjoys it, interesting so that they are attentive, as well as effective so that they learn? :)
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-16-2011, 03:15 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Taranaki New Zealand.
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Well I have to say that I no longer do groundwork with my horse just for the sake of groundwork. Groundwork is now incorporated into the before ride prep. So during the walk from her paddock to where I saddle her up I enforce my "personal bubble" as I lead her. When I have to open the gate I "send her away" so I can go through first, I back her up so she is not in my way as I latch the gate. When I groom her I make her move, I pretty much stand in one spot and apply pressure so she can position herself where I want her. For example I hog my mares mane and it is her job to lift and lower her own head as I require for a nice clean cut. And of course she has to stand still while I saddle her. That is how I do ground work with Phoenny these days.

And then riding is always fun for my horse, she loves to get out and about. My horse really enjoys going to new places, she loves trying a new track and finding out what is around the next corner. I am always schooling when I am out and about too. Opening and closing gates is a great way to hone leg aids, and on those occasions when I bump into a neighbour and want to chat and my horse gets fidgety I do leg yielding exercises until she is still (she doesn't like standing still she likes to keep moving!). I honestly thing the way to encourage the horse to enjoy being worked is to keep things interesting and challenging. If you have a horse for trail riding then do interesting trails, introduce water crossings and challenging terrain to your ride. If the only trail rides you have are well beaten paths then mix it up a bit by walking through the rough and trees beside the path.

I have never trained a competition horse so I don't know how one would make the training schedule required fun. I have often wondered how the best trainers find that balance between the repetition needed to make a world class performance horse and schooling a horse to death with sheer boredom.

Of course horses are not always going to enjoy every thing we do with them and sometimes they just have to suck it up and do the job that is in front of them.

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post #3 of 6 Old 12-21-2011, 06:53 PM
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I do not do ground work with any of my horses once they are broke to ride.

My horses are bred to do what I use them for and they love it. They love to work and be worked so yes they seem to really enjoy it. I keep things changed up. That has nothing to do with enjoyment but more to keep the horse honest. I

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post #4 of 6 Old 12-24-2011, 12:39 PM
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I use clicker training to make groundwork fun! But I usually only use it for tricks and only certain parts of groundwork.
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-24-2011, 10:16 PM
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Short and sweet.

Although I do try to mix it up to some extent, all I want is for each session to get the same result- Better than the last time. That's all I ask of them. I don't over train what they already know, and what they learn is rewarded, perfected, then on to the next level.

They honestly never get bored or sour, because I'm always amping it up each time. They're always learning, and wondering what's next.

Of course we have our break days where all we do is hack around the pasture at the trot on a loose rein. That's always nice.

On the work days, I never feel the horse is repeating anything to a drilled extent or getting sour. My gelding is always happy while I tack him up and never resists a ride, so that alone, tells me he's good with the training routine. If he ever resisted walking through the arena gate, or just flat quit trying at each ride, then I might want to rethink my plans.

Even on groundwork, his pivot, sidepass, ground drive, back, etc..All that could still have some perfecting done. There's always something new to do.
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-24-2011, 10:34 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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I agree, short and sweet! Move on if they do well, if they struggle.. get a good rep out of it and then MOVE ON! Staying and grinding on the same concept will dull a horse and they'll be less compliant and happy to follow through.

Add obstacles and work around them. leg yields through cones, backing into boxes made of 4 ground poles. Barrels to send them around.
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