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A few weeks ago I bought the book, 101 Horsemanship Excersises. Don't kill me for this, but I have never really done much groundwork with my horses, it just was never taught to me. When I first got my tb I tried to do some simple groundwork with him, but really I had no clue what I was doing and so it never really worked. He's always been an angel to do anything with anyway.
THis book is fantastic though, and so now I've started doing some groundwork with him and actually getting somewhere. Right now its just basic backing up, yeilding that sort of stuff.

My queston is, how long should I do it for? I've only been doing it for 10 minutes or so and then I get on and ride. Should I do more? I don't want to bore him. And is it better before/after a ride? Or at a different time of the day?
 

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10-15 minutes is fine for a learning session....if he's a TB, the shorter and more precise the lesson is the better, since they learn in short bursts. So if you do 15 minutes of groundwork, make sure you end it the right way (if you're backing up, make sure he's talking fluid steps and not slow choppy ones, for example), and then take a 45 or 60 or whatever minute "break" of doing something he knows how to do (like your ride). Then go back to 15 more minutes of groundwork, end on a good note, and call it a day.

Just a question though, why do the ground work? If he does the normal things like lead properly, back up on cue, respect your space and not bite/kick/rear/buck etc under saddle, then you really don't need to do a lot of the exercises (I have that book also, lol). But if you're trying to build a relationship with him, there are different "games" or whatever you want to call them that you can do.
 

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Just short bursts, like mentioned.

I'm doing this with Honey too. She doesn't do much of anything....so she's got a long way to go. I generally lunge and do a little work before I get on her back, and then when I'm done riding I work a little more and then unsaddle and put her away.
 

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Ground work is the foundation to your horse. Therefore, it is very important to do this with your horse. When i say "do this" I mean yielding and backing up. Work with your horse for 10-15 minutes. As your horse progresses, he should be able to stop and back following your body movements. Also, work on desentizig him too. Do you lunge him before you ride? You can get more ideas from many trainers like Craig Cameron, Clint Anderson, and Stacy Westfall about groundwork. By the way,your horse seems like a good boy.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just a question though, why do the ground work? If he does the normal things like lead properly, back up on cue, respect your space and not bite/kick/rear/buck etc under saddle, then you really don't need to do a lot of the exercises (I have that book also, lol). But if you're trying to build a relationship with him, there are different "games" or whatever you want to call them that you can do.
He doesn't back up on cue, it's always been an issue for us. I've only been doing the first 10 or so excersises, don't know if i will do the others.

Do you lunge him before you ride?
Sometimes but only for a couple of minutes. If I do, I always seem to have a better ride on him. He can be a bit stiff sometimes so it helps with that.
 

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You know what I find really helpful and more fun for the horses when I work on groundwork? Gates! Open gates with them, close gates and make them move around you so you can open and close the gate.
 

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It sounds like you're really on the right track, Bek. 10-15 minutes are perfect, especially if your horse is just learning. Anything you do with your horse is training, and an exercise doesn't have to be labeled as a "respect/rapport/relationship builder" to do just that.

I personally do a few minutes of groundwork before I ride, especially if it's been a few days since the last ride (thank you school schedule :-x). If the horse is thinking about something besides me, I don't want to find out while I'm flying through the air. I do some yielding, backing up, maybe some NH lunging as a pre-flight check, so to speak. If my horse is sweaty after a ride, I'll dismount and do a little simple yielding and backing as part of his cool-down. In high summer when I'm riding every day, I don't do so much, if any, but my horse knows the drill. I agree wholeheartedly that it is a major part of the horse's foundation. I'm a loon about it, maybe, but I enjoy doing groundwork. :lol:

Almost any big name trainer has some excellent groundwork exercises, and the book that you've purchased is an excellent resource as well. You may want to look into some Grooming and Showmanship type patterns and maneuvers, too, if you want to vary the program a little.

Good luck! :D
 

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I do a little ground work each time I ride too. If his attitude is relaxed I keep it short. If he seems a little spooky, or distracted I spend a little more time. I agree with the others 10 minutes is a good start.
 

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It is not just quantity, but quality time on the ground. If your horse answers all your questions correctly then your lesson may be short. If you get stuck then you really should stay with it until he breaks through, although you can quit on any improvement if need be.

This Is Important : One of the fastest ways to anger a horse is to keep asking the same question and expecting the same level of answer. Meaning? Whenever you work on a lesson, ALWAYS seek improvements. Get it lighter, faster, softer, something should always be better. This will keep your horse happy as he is always learning.
 
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