Ground work exercises

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Chickerdoodle13, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Hey there guys...yet another horse question. Ya'll know your stuff though, so I enjoy hearing the responses!

    I've been away at college for the past three months and haven't had much time to work with our horse Stetson. Stetson absolutely respects my dad, but since I've been away, he's lost respect for me. My classes end in another couple of weeks, and I will have time at home to work with him for two months.

    Lately he's been trying to nip my hand when I lead him and he just has a general direspect for my space. I correct him when he tries to nip, but I want to be sure I'm doing it correctly. How can I teach him to respect my space?

    Interestingly enough, after I ride him around a bit, he respects me a whole lot more. He does seem to throw small fits when you first get on his back (This is an issue we have been working with for a while) and it almost seems like he is just testing you. After you let him know you won't take that from him, he quiets right down. He does this with and without a saddle, and we have ruled out any type of medical condition via vet and farrier. I have a feeling it may be a respect thing. My dad says he acts up when he goes trail riding for the first ride out, and the second ride he is a completely different horse.

    Anyways, I'm looking for some exercises to do on the ground. Trust/respect building activities. I want him to respect me so that working on his back will be a lot easier. I've had horses for many years, but for almost ten years I worked with the same horse until she passed. Now I have to relearn all my training techniques!
  2. lockedhearts

    lockedhearts It's All About Chicken Math

    Apr 29, 2007
    The Round Pen will be your best friend. I have taught a lot of horses respect in a round pen.
    You can also use Showmanship as a tool for teaching respect and the whole my space/ your space concept.

    I teach every single horse that comes into my barn showmanship, it teaches them to square up for halter, how to turn on the haunches and backing. In the round pen, if I have one (especially like my 2 yr old stud that has hormonal issues at the moment) if I am working on Showmanship or anything and they misbehave, I send them out to work (lunge) I used this method a good bit with Handsome this year as I bred him and he was getting a bit out of control. He typically gets lunged 3-4 times a week so I coordinated that with his breedings, he was getting very nippy and beligerent after breeding a mare, we went directly to the round pen and worked. It allowed me to gain control of his proper brain again.
    He has not tried to nip at me since either.

    I would also lunge before I rode him too, this will allow him to warm up and work off excess energy. You can also work on patterns, I do anything from poles to using an arena , long trot on the long sides of the arena and walk or slow jog the short sides. Sounds like he may have an active mind so changing up your routine is probably a good idea too.
  3. gaited horse

    gaited horse Merry Christmas!

    Aug 14, 2008
    Fernley, NV
    start playing the seven games by Parelli
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2008
  4. Appytaz

    Appytaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2008
    Central Florida
    I agree with gaited - I love the Parelli Games. I used them with my gelding when he was a yearling and by the time he was 2 we were entering showmanship classes and placing ;-) Our 1st time in showmanship we placed 4th out of 15. The judge stopped and said if she had not just judged him in the 2yr old geldings - she never would have guessed he was that young from his performance. You can do a search online and find all of the info on how to do the games. They really do teach alot of ground manners.
  5. bluebirdfarm

    bluebirdfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Really what matters is more the WORK than the method. The horse is not paying attention to you and I would betcha anything you're not paying enough attention to him either. When you handle him on the ground, think as if you are riding him, you know?

    If I had to recommend a method though I would WHOLEHEARTEDLY recommend True Horsemanship Through Feel by Bill Dorrance and Leslie Desmond (Bill is Tom Dorrance's brother). IT is not the easiest book to find but you will absolutely never regret it, I promise you.

    I am a formerly-hunters-and-eventing classical dressage geek (like, work in hand and dressage on the long lines and so forth, holding the Spanish Riding School in infinitely higher esteem than I do dressage shows, you know?) and have ridden and trained horses and taught riding for most of my 43 years, and even though Bill Dorrance is an old timey cowboy horse trainer not some European dressage guru this is probably one of the best three books I have ever read. (And I have read probably hundreds of books on horses and training). Doin' what he says, just standing there in the aisle working on moving one foot or bending the neck or whatever, THE RIGHT WAY, has solved some significant ridden issues for me that I was otherwise sort of stuck on.

    Honest. Find a copy of that book and read it cover to cover and do the exercises right from the first one (don't skip things because 'oh we're beyond that').

    Good luck, have fun,

    Last edited: Nov 19, 2008

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