Horse Training: Ground Work Part One, provided by eXtension
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Horse Training: Ground Work Part One, provided by eXtension

August 11, 2019

Hello, I’m Howard Cormier with the LSU Ag Center. We’d like
to talk a little bit about ground work today. It is very important it you’re going to be working
with children, but it’s important with adults too. One of the first things you need to know is that
the horse should be willing to just stand. If the horse wants to move around, then you make it move around, to the point where it gets tired and it wants to just
stand. So we’re going to ask this horse to move, and she’s being real good, she’s willing to be quiet, but if she wasn’t good, we could just ask her to move,
and we can use the tail of the lead rope It’s important that you have a lead rope with enough of a
tail, and just twirl it around a little bit, and generally they will understand that you can threaten them with that. You need to be able to do this with both hands. So as you begin working, don’t work on only one side. And if the horse is sensitive, you will just
give a suggestion, and she stopped, I’m going to give a suggestion again, and if she doesn’t
go, then I’m going to tap her shoulder. And then by lifting the lead rope I
can bring her back to me, and she gets to compare what she just did to what I’m
allowing her to do now, which is to stand. As Dr. Depew said earlier, you have to be the dominant one. Sometimes that will involve using the tail of a lead rope, and it’s important that you have a lead rope that is
serviceable. If this were a 4 foot lead rope, I could not reach her back end. If this
were a 30 foot lead rope, then I would have too much rope to be able to handle it. Everything is done on a suggestion. Not at first,
but as you develop your horse, you want to just suggest, so I’m suggesting she go this way, she doesn’t know what that means, but my
hand being out is a suggestion, this strengthens the suggestion, and when she moves,
my body language goes to neutral. And again, you want to be able to do this
both ways, and as soon as they move, and do the right thing, then you reward them. One of the first things you want to do is get a
horse desensitized to the tools you’ll be working with. So if you are a little too rough
with this, they will get excited. You want to just be able to touch them all over
the body with this, just swing the rope, it goes over, and she’s a little scared, so
I’m going to keep going right there I’m trying to get her to relax. I don’t
want to pop her with the lead. So after we get this going good, then
we will try to do it, and she’s a little nervous, so we’ll just start over again. You really don’t want to quit when they move,
you just want to keep doing it. when they move, you just want to keep doing it. So if
she moves, I’m just going to keep doing this, until she realizes that she doesn’t have to move. Sometimes this will take a little while, but this
is what desensitizing is all about. She’s got to figure out that my moving
this rope now doesn’t mean anything. So I would just continue to do this until she gets the
idea, and hold her a little close to the halter, and I can rub her with the rope, you can shorten the
rope so you’re using just a small tail of it, until she gets to the point where she knows it doesn’t mean anything. And if she continues to do this, you just continue
to do it, try not to stop, just because it bothers her, because if you stop when it bothers her, you’re telling her, ‘all you have to do is put up a
fuss, and that will make this unpleasant object go away.’ So we sensitize, and then we desensitize. So now she’s kinda relaxing with that a little bit. I would do this over her neck, her back, her hindquarters,
and then I could do it around her legs. And you want to teach them if they get their legs
caught in something like rope or barbed wire, that they shouldn’t be afraid of that, and that
if they stand still, it will basically not get any worse. Eventually, you can progress with this to the point where
after they get really good at this, you want to just work the legs, and work the
legs with the rope over their legs, and get to a point where when you pull
a little bit, if they give, now she stayed calm and then she rocked forward, so
I’m going to ask her to move again, I just want her to get used to the feel of
that rope, and I could help her with this by pulling on the lead rope until she takes as step then this one will get loose. So you can work and get them leading with
a rope on all four legs.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. I highly recommend to anyone that wants to master ground work watch the video
    titled "I need you to trust me. Together we are one."

    It's an exemplary horse rider relationship.

  2. amazing video:) and beatuiful QH she has a great build and a nice long topline! im working on ground work now with my horse after our rides and this vid is going to hep us get better:)

  3. I have mixed feelings on this video but I must say that horse is gorgeously built. And very sensitive which is sometimes an awesome deal haha

  4. Refreshing to see a video made with a horse that doesnt already have perfect manners/ hours and hours of training done. Its easier to learn when you see what to do when the horse does not do exactly what you want during the training process! thankyou!!

  5. Thanks very useful. My horse freaked out because a rope touched her foot and she tangled herself up and almost killed herself. She's gotten better but I'm going to start doing this with her so she'll calm down when it touches her feet. (It doesn't help that she was beat because she freaked out when people touched her feet)

  6. He's unsafe because he is handling and training this horse without gloves on. That's a good way to get a rope burnt. His "suggestions" to the horse (should be called cues in order to be accurate because the horse has to take the "suggestion") are dangerous. Twirling a rope is a dangerous way to reinforce a cue because the horse is being sensitized to rope twirling. Do you want your horse to move out anytime it sees a twirling rope? I don't. This man needs training in the basics of equine behavior and learning. In order to learn the basics read "Equitation Science", by Paul McGreevy.

  7. To Bill, sorry you had nothing but negative comments. If you have quiet hands and project softness, you don't need to wear gloves. As Ray Hunt said, when your hands start warming up, you will understand that maybe you put too much pressure to make them want to leave. This was the first time I worked with this mare to do the video. I don't blame her for being sensitive to the twirling rope. I teach horses that a twirling rope does not mean to move, but it does take time. When I want them to move, my hand goes up to direct or send them. She just needed time to figure it out. It starts with a subtle suggestion, but the twirling rope will make contact if they ignore the cue. "Make the right thing easy, and the wrong thing difficult." As far as needing training, I do, and I will, until I die. Thanks for the suggestion on Equitation Science. If you want to see what a more finished horse looks like, Google "Master Horseman Minute". 

  8. Mr. Baehr, name one big name clinician who uses gloves to do groundwork with horses. If you are soft with your hands, you don't need gloves. As Ray Hunt said, "if you wear gloves, you will be less sensitive to the horse's movements. If your hands start to warm up as the horse pulls away, you will learn to use your hands more softly so you don't scare the horse as much." I use them when I need to, but I try not to because I want to "feel" the horse.
    Horses should be desensitized to a twirling rope. It should mean nothing. They are taught that the hand gesture of sending the horse means to move, and the twirling rope will increase the stimulus until they do move.
    In this video, I had never worked with the horse. She did what she thought she had to do. I don't blame her for that. With a little time, she learned that she could trust me. It really is challenging to teach groundwork A to Z in a few minutes.

  9. I agree with Mr Cormier. I never use gloves. Yes there may be a horse that you work with that you yourself need gloves, but if you do your good work before the chances are the horse won't pull away. As for twirling the rope. I i generally will throw a rope at the hind end, but I see no problem with twirling it as long as you stop and release the pressure when the horse responds to the cue of move out.  I think Mr Baehr ought to do more training hands on and less reading. You will learn much more through experience tun a book. 

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