Groundwork, what does it mean to you?

There are so many trainers out there that put an emphasis on groundwork. Each one has there own “method” and if you really look into they are doing pretty much the same exercises with a slightly different twist that works for them. Groundwork is important to the mental soundness and the “brokeness” of your horse. All young horses should have groundwork done, teaching them how to respond to pressure, learn to carry a saddle and give to a bit, plus learn how to respect the handler. Sensitizing and desensitizing should all be done on the ground before the colt’s first ride.

As a horse goes through training, and you hit a wall, you need to go back to your ground training to fix any holes you might have missed or that you need to refresh for your horse. Groundwork is extremely important for horses that are a little higher strung and need an outlet for their energy and to help get them thinking before you ride them

One of the things I like to do with a horse that is not responding well under saddle and may be fighting what you are trying to do with them, is bit them up and work them at all gaits in both directions, then I will work on gait transitions, directional changes and flexing.

I want to be able to put a horse on a lunge line saddled or unsaddled and control the horse’s feet. Moving the hind quarters way from me, asking for a bend in the rib cage, asking for the nose all done with my body position. If there are days you just don’t have time to ride or the weather limits your riding, put your horse on the lunge line and work them.

Horses with good ground manners and that are taught respect on the ground will respect you in the saddle. Your training on the ground will be helpful in the saddle. Preparing a horse for the saddle and rider on the ground first will help the horse to know what to expect.

What groundwork exercises do you do with your horse? Leave a comment below or head over to our Facebook page at SL Barrel Horses and leave your comment there!

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