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 The Beginning Rider
 Ground Work
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Bethany
Advanced Rider

USA
165 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2008 :  4:29:51 PM  Show Profile Send Bethany a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was reading Ms. Hooks sticky on ground work and thought maybe I should take a step back and try beginning at a different place.

So, I clipped a lead line on Sophie yesterday and walked with her. After 20 or so steps I stopped saying whoa. She stopped but was wiggly and in trying to pace she'd move her rear out around my shoulder each time we stopped instead of staying by my side. Sooo I backed her up, then we'd start over. We worked for a short time than stopped.

A friend said he thinks the horse is board and has too much pent up energy for that. He said I need to longe her first. What do you think?

Do you think I can just clip the line on her and try to practice walking, stopping and standing?

If I could successfully work on the ground with my horses and longe them I think I'd feel much more comfortable to mount them and do more work with from there.

I haven't had much luck with riding lessons. I found a terrific horse woman but her specialty is English and I'm Western. I haven't been successful finding a good western trainer yet. I think I'll ask her if she can show me how to longe and do some ground work. I'm thinking this will be a confidence booster.

Beth

killybean907
Clinician



USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 10/14/2008 :  01:33:53 AM  Show Profile Send killybean907 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Bethany,
Hooks stickies on the groundwork, lunging, (and did you read Mrs. Hooks "Cruiser Starts Kindergarten" on the stopping, walking alongside?) are all excellent!
I would continue to do the ground work before any saddle work. It seems like all the clinicians say it, but it's true. If they aren't listening and respecting you on the ground first, they certainly won't under saddle. My gelding gets full of so much energy some days, and others he is calm and cool. I HAVE to work him on the ground first just to see what horse I have when I pull him out of the paddock. (I can have a bucking bronc sometimes when he's "fresh out of the can" and hasn't been worked for several days or "funny weather"). Sometimes it's alot of groundwork...up and down transitions, changing directions every 1-2 circles, stopping, backing,(all of that while away from me on the end of the line), then moving shoulders over, haunches over, flexing, etc. while working next to him. If he's dancing around, I work him some more until he's listening to ME, and not just endless circles on the line, WORK his feet and his brain, not wear him out.
The point is to get his eyes on me and thinking, and I get the chance to see where he's at mentally, and I change up the routine alot. Remember that they learn from the release of the pressure you're applying, whether it's direct or in-direct. Verbal praise and a pat or scritch doesn't hurt either in my book. Sort of our "pre-flight" check...yes, I guess the pun IS intended. Keep up the consistant work and GO SLOW. Horses need to know what they are being asked to do before they can do it.



It's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years.
Karen-Anchorage, Alaska
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Bethany
Advanced Rider

USA
165 Posts

Posted - 10/14/2008 :  11:05:38 AM  Show Profile Send Bethany a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by killybean907

Bethany,
My gelding gets full of so much energy some days, and others he is calm and cool. I HAVE to work him on the ground first just to see what horse I have when I pull him out of the paddock. (I can have a bucking bronc sometimes when he's "fresh out of the can" and hasn't been worked for several days or "funny weather"). Sometimes it's alot of groundwork...up and down transitions, changing directions every 1-2 circles, stopping, backing,(all of that while away from me on the end of the line), then moving shoulders over, haunches over, flexing, etc. while working next to him. If he's dancing around, I work him some more until he's listening to ME, and not just endless circles on the line, WORK his feet and his brain, not wear him out.



How do you handle him when he's a bucking bronc? Do you longe him to work out some of the energy?

So ... part of your groundwork routine is to walk him up and down in a straight line an than switch to circles (clockwise and counter clockwise)?

I've flexed with Sophie and she's pretty good about keeping her hind quarters in place while moving her head to either side. I was so pleased when we did it so well together.

How about moving the shoulders and haunches over ... how do you work that out?

We worked last night again. Over all we did well but I did detect that Ms. Sophia was entertaining a nip to my abdomin. She swung her head toward my belly and just about lipped some material there. I was able to detect it and react with a quick jerk of the lead line and some scolding.

We kept it short but ended on a good note with patting and praise. She seemed happy with herself. She's a sweet mare until you ask her to something she'd rather not ... than we see the fiesty side.

Beth
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killybean907
Clinician



USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 10/15/2008 :  05:00:57 AM  Show Profile Send killybean907 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bethany

quote:
Originally posted by killybean907

Bethany,
My gelding gets full of so much energy some days, and others he is calm and cool. I HAVE to work him on the ground first just to see what horse I have when I pull him out of the paddock. (I can have a bucking bronc sometimes when he's "fresh out of the can" and hasn't been worked for several days or "funny weather"). Sometimes it's alot of groundwork...up and down transitions, changing directions every 1-2 circles, stopping, backing,(all of that while away from me on the end of the line), then moving shoulders over, haunches over, flexing, etc. while working next to him. If he's dancing around, I work him some more until he's listening to ME, and not just endless circles on the line, WORK his feet and his brain, not wear him out.



How do you handle him when he's a bucking bronc? Do you longe him to work out some of the energy?

So ... part of your groundwork routine is to walk him up and down in a straight line an than switch to circles (clockwise and counter clockwise)?

I've flexed with Sophie and she's pretty good about keeping her hind quarters in place while moving her head to either side. I was so pleased when we did it so well together.

How about moving the shoulders and haunches over ... how do you work that out?

We worked last night again. Over all we did well but I did detect that Ms. Sophia was entertaining a nip to my abdomin. She swung her head toward my belly and just about lipped some material there. I was able to detect it and react with a quick jerk of the lead line and some scolding.

We kept it short but ended on a good note with patting and praise. She seemed happy with herself. She's a sweet mare until you ask her to something she'd rather not ... than we see the fiesty side.


Well, I always work him on the ground FIRST so that I won't have to possibly come off him in a buck,(and YES, I'm a FIRM believer in wearing helmets) and sometimes round penning first, then the work on the line. I work him in circles on the 14'-23' leads and also alongside him for backing, sidepassing, etc. (I figure if I do it in the saddle, we can do it on the ground)
This is easier to "show" than explain....
When moving the haunches over, you are basically asking them to disengage the hindquarters and move them away from you while keeping the front feet in the same spot. Twirl the end of the lead (or your training stick/whip) while stepping towards her hips so she pivots hips away while crossing over with her hind feet. One or two steps is good at first. (Think of the hand on a clock with the center point being the head and shoulders, and the point of the hand being the hind-end)
Shoulders over is the opposite, hind feet stay as the point of pivot and you "move" the head/neck/shoulders over with foot crossing over in front of the other . Stand at upper neck/shoulder and she should step away with direst pressure (hands on neck and side of halter at first)and keep her moving away from you.
The idea is based on herd behavior. The "boss" mare doesn't move away from the others, she stands her ground, and by her "pressure" (body language or bite/kick)the other horses STEP AWAY from her. Hence, she has gained their respect.
That is what she is doing to you when she is threatening you with a "nip". She's telling YOU to back off, she's in charge. She needs to know that the "WRATH of BETH" will come down on her like a ton of bricks...but as soon as she tries it. (within 3-5 seconds I'm told) They have a short memory, and otherwise won't have a clue why you're mad.
Same thing goes for bumping into you or crowding you when leading. She's assuming the role as leader and makes you step away from HER. Any time you move out of HER space, she looks at it as your acknowledging her as leader (sneaky aren't they!)
It's good that you end things on a good note with her, she knows when she does good I think!, and the flexing is always good to do.
Well, I've probably confused the situation and I know there are many others on the forum with alot more expertise than I, but I just gave my 2 cents on the topic. I hope the others will chime in and perhaps explain things better. Keep us posted !!



It's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years.
Karen-Anchorage, Alaska
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Mrs Hook
Trainer



Canada
862 Posts

Posted - 10/15/2008 :  3:55:44 PM  Show Profile  Visit Mrs Hook's Homepage Send Mrs Hook a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Bathany
Killy has given you some really good advice.

Each horse is different, so each approach to groundwork is different. If your horse is full of himself and just can't pay attention because of that well then longe him to get rid of his extra energy. Then start doing the ground work exercises.

If he is just not paying attention to you because he feels like being a butt-head -- well that is a completely differnt thing.

The idea of all ground work is to give you control over the horse. If you stop and the horse flips its behind around, you can make him work more by backing up, or you can make him work in a circle around you. Then try again - keep working at it and keep being consistant. Soon the horse will figure out it is much much harder to keep working than to just stand still. I personally like the backing up exercise, because it is easy for me to walk forward and force him backward, and backing gets to be very hard work very quickly. After backing for awhile, most horses are very glad to just stand still in one spot.

You have to remember that there is no one right way and no one wrong way of working with horses. There are the normal things that work with most horses, but a thinking owner changes things so they will fit with his horse.

Regarding a riding instructor - English - Western - they are all the same at the beginning. You have a leg on each side the horse and a rein in each hand. The horse walks, or trots or canters. Once you get the balance and cues worked out then that is when you chose a riding displine, and start refining your knowledge.

We have 3 four years olds that I have been training. A hunter jumper girl comes and rides with me three times a week. She has riden Promise exclusively for the past 6 months. So she is completely trained in the pure English tradition. The other day I put the western saddle on her, sat back and down, gave her some rein and she framed up nicely into a reasonable western walk and trot. If a young horse can switch gears so quickly from one style of riding, and a differnt rider then any thinking person should have no trouble doing the same thing.

Oh, one more thing, if any of my horses even think about biting me or at me, they will end up thinking they are dying. I react swiftly and strongly and loudly, to any sign of aggression and with whatever I have in my hand at that particular time. I will not stand for aggression in any form from any horse!!! They are much too big and they can hurt you too easily to tolerate that. Forget being your horses friend and become his boss - then life becomes much more simple.

Mrs Hook's Riding Log


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killybean907
Clinician



USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 10/15/2008 :  5:21:48 PM  Show Profile Send killybean907 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
originally posted by Mrs. Hook:
Oh, one more thing, if any of my horses even think about biting me or at me, they will end up thinking they are dying. I react swiftly and strongly and loudly, to any sign of aggression and with whatever I have in my hand at that particular time. I will not stand for aggression in any form from any horse!!! They are much too big and they can hurt you too easily to tolerate that. Forget being your horses friend and become his boss - then life becomes much more simple.


Can't agree more with you on that!!! Glad you added to what I said, I know there was so much more to add to the groundwork, respect issues that I left unsaid.

Beth, If you have any access to some Clinton Anderson, John Lyons, Pat Parelli, etc. (Natural Horsemanship types...I know, they all claim they aren't! ) videos and or books, it's sometimes easier to "see" what it looks like. They are all similar enough where it gives you the general idea. Some good stuff on YouTube also, but make sure you know it's reputable advice.





It's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years.
Karen-Anchorage, Alaska
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