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What would you like to see as far as ground manners in a horse?

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I'm currently in the middle of training my 2 1/2 yr old QH gelding, and would like to hear what y'all would like to see as far as groundwork and ground manners in any horse? I want to train this horse right.
He is green broke, but we won't be starting further saddle training until he's back up to a healthy weight, as he's pretty underweight currently. He already is very respectful in his manners, but I want to see what you guys would like to see in a horse for ground manners.
Thanks!
Any ideas welcome!

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I want them to be able to lead with me not a head of me or behind me ( shoulder to shoulder). I would also want them to be respectful of my personal space( staying a respectful distance when walking and not being mouthy). And at that age I would probably start teaching to tie without hard tying(Like having the lead rope draped over a big branch and having them stand quietly there)
 

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My plan would be to teach walk, trot and canter/lope in the round pen both on the lead and at liberty. Then I'd move to backup and ground tie as well as carry an empty saddle. Also, forequarter yield and hindquarter yield and maybe even sidepass from the ground. I've also worked on an exercise I saw at a clinic that I call figure 8's. Just my $.02 worth because you asked...
 

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Yup - leading nicely and staying out of my space! Not banging me with her head when she wants me to take her bridle off would be nice. Lining up and standing still for mounting (if that counts as groundwork). Camping out for mounting would be totally awesome! Backing up. Side passing in hand. Moving her butt out of the way. Loading willingly and safely. Standing still for grooming and tacking up. Lifting their feet for cleaning/farrier. Lunging.
 

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There are several groundwork exercises I do with a colt, but when it is said and done, or if I were to get on an old horse, what I would expect of their manners to call them good mannered:

They are light on a lead rope. They don’t dance around or get pushy. They are aware of where I am and what I am doing and try to stay by my side leading. They also aren’t watchy of things on the ground.

They back softly.

They stand for saddling and later stand for mounting.

I think that’s all I actually notice on the ground with an older horse. I mean, you aren’t putting them through their paces. They are polite if they do those simple things.
 

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I don't like my horses rushing past me when going through a gate. I train them to let me go first and calmly follow me. Secondly, waiting to be dismissed. I've seen people take the halter off their horses and the horses immediately rush off to join their friends. Don't like that. And thirdly, wait until I dump the feed in the trough or pan before sticking their heads in there to eat. On the other hand, it is fine with me if they start moving before I'm settled in the saddle. No one is perfect. ;)
 

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Easy to catch out on pasture, no rushing gates, no dancing on the lead, walk at or slightly behind my shoulder, tie and stand quietly and patiently, load and unload & ride in trailer, bathe without drama, clip without fuss, stand for grooming, farrier, vet, tie to side of trailer and stand, stand for tacking & untacking, mounting & dismounting (this is a pet peeve for me, I'll sell a horse that won't be still for mounting and dismounting). If I want to stop and chat with a friend, the horse will stand quietly and either graze or stand patiently until I'm done.
 

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Everyone else took most of it. But just skimming through, I don't remember if anyone said "will accept fly spray"? I am not too good at training, and I need everything to go just right when I'm trying to teach a horse something; and if the horse is covered with flies and can't focus, then I can't do anything with them. So to me this is a foundational required skill (unless it's winter I guess).
 

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I'm currently in the middle of training my 2 1/2 yr old QH gelding, and would like to hear what y'all would like to see as far as groundwork and ground manners in any horse? I want to train this horse right.
He is green broke, but we won't be starting further saddle training until he's back up to a healthy weight, as he's pretty underweight currently. He already is very respectful in his manners, but I want to see what you guys would like to see in a horse for ground manners.
Thanks!
Any ideas welcome!
Everyone's said all the big stuff, but I like all my horses I work with to know how to take a treat properly without mugging you for it, which starts by using protected contact. With the horse in a stall or across a fence, make it aware you have treats. Let the horse search around for them (step back if needed), and wait for the horse to turn his head away from you (for any reason, even if he got distracted by something). Then say "good boy" and give him the treat. Repeat until he knows to move his head away from you on both sides and does this automatically when he sees you with a treat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Everyone else took most of it. But just skimming through, I don't remember if anyone said "will accept fly spray"? I am not too good at training, and I need everything to go just right when I'm trying to teach a horse something; and if the horse is covered with flies and can't focus, then I can't do anything with them. So to me this is a foundational required skill (unless it's winter I guess).
Yes, that was a actually the first thing I taught him. We worked on it a few days, and he's cool with it now.
It's funny, I've never had a horse be afraid of so many things- he spooked at my plastic crinkly water bottle the other day, so we spent 10mins learning the water bottle is not scary. 😅
 

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Picking up feet without struggle for picking out or the farrier, no kicking/biting habits, not chewing the stable door (this can be done by having a toy for boredom in the stable), good with water (e.g. being hosed off, having a bath etc), doesn’t expect treats every time you pat him, fine with things on his head (I know this is an odd one, but I knew a horse who wouldn’t let anyone put anything on his head, and in summer when he needed a fly mask on, it was bad). That’s it I think, but I’ll tell you if I come up with anything else.
 

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Before I ever sit on one it needs to:
  • lead respectfully (including trotting in-hand, backing up, standing square, and turning/pivoting)
  • stand ground tied, straight tied, and cross-tied quietly
  • stand to be bathed and sprayed (fly spray, etc)
  • allow me to clip bridle path, legs, (and whiskers and ears if applicable) with no fuss
  • stand and be respectful while feet are handled, picked, trimmed, and (shod if applicable)
  • willingly allow me or anyone (vet) to touch any part of him/her (ears, mouth, belly, flank, legs, etc)
  • quietly accept injectible and oral medications (shots and pastes)
  • load onto, stand quietly on, and unload from a trailer
  • accept saddle and bridle with no fuss
  • lunge obediently both in a round pen and on a lunge line at all three gaits and with a solid whoa
  • obediently ground drive while tacked up pretty much any place I point them
  • cross poles, logs, puddles, ditches, tarps, bridges, etc. both when led and ground driven
  • allow me to pet or groom or pick poop or whatever when they are loose in a stall, paddock, or pasture without any fuss
  • move out of my space when asked

I'm sure there are more. I always think that the better the horse has these things established, the safer his/her future becomes. That's why it's always worth the sweat and time to help them be the best horses they can be. It's the ones that have issues with the things above that often find themselves in bad situations because no one wants to put up with their shenanigans.
 
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