Ground Training A Horse
Thoroughly ground training a horse is essential in achieving great communication. It forms the basis which prepares both horse and rider. If we can learn from the ground how a horse thinks and reacts we will be much better prepared when we then get in the saddle. That goes for the horse too!
If we try to skip steps in ground training a horse the evidence always pops up later, usually with unwanted behaviours. So please take your time here, you will be glad you did!
I incorporate Clicker Training and Natural Horsemanship in everything I do. Meaning positive and negative reinforcement techniques are applied together.
Click here for further information on Clicker Training.
Click here for the Horse Equipment I use
Horse Ground Training Tasks
#1. Can I touch you “everywhere”?
Does your horse accept your touch everywhere on his body? Can you discover your horse’s favourite scratching place? Can you take any object and touch your horse’s body everywhere with it? Variations include throwing ropes over his back and round the legs. Later comes the saddle.
#2. Will you move away from pressure from my finger or hand touch?
Can you move your horse forwards, backwards, sideways, right, left, back end, head down and up, simply by the touch of your fingertips? In other words, can he yield from pressure but not feel the need to run away from it?
#3. Can I point with my fingers, hand gesture or body energy and have you move away without touching you?
Can you move your horse’s body in all directions in #2, but by not using any touch? Here is where using your body language and natural energies come into play.
#4. Can you follow me or back up with the energy sent down the lead rope?
The slightest wiggle in the rope will cause your horse to back up. And the slightest grooming of the rope will have your horse come in to you willingly.
#5. Can you go in a circle around me?
Not to be confused with lunging a horse. This is to build a complex language of understanding between you and your horse. Can you send your horse out on a circle at a specific speed and direction and have your horse confident in the task. Using different rope lengths and obstacles and not more than 4 laps in a session.
#6. Can you side pass along a fence line or wall?
By combining all of the above games you could ask you horse to move sideways. This builds confidence, agility and further communication.
#7. Are you afraid of narrow spaces?
Can you send your horse through a narrow opening or jump over a barrel without them rushing through from fear? This will help build confidence in the horse for trailer loading etc.
#8. Can you touch a target with your nose?
When I point to an object can your horse confidently touch it? Can your horse follow a moving target? Does he like to pick things up with his mouth?
Ground training a horse exercises would be completed well before I attempt to ride them. Why? Because in my old age I can no longer afford to get hurt!
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