Three Reasons Why You Can Not Ignore Groundwork With Your Horse
Good groundwork is an essential component of all horsemanship. It is totally necessary that a top class coach be used to lay a sound foundation of groundwork in every pony. I give below the three most vital reasons for this.
Create good rapport: groom your horse
Grooming substitutes for the way horses care for each other in herds. They stand facing in opposite directions, shoulder touching shoulder. When they rub against each other, each is scratching the other’s shoulder. A pony cannot scratch his own shoulders. This is only accomplised by horses of the same ranking in a herd which shares proximity in relationship. Sometimes, horses that are at different levels on the totem pole will not to help one another out this way.
You can use grooming as a way of educating your horse. Quite often, for instance, a horse will try to reciprocate your kindness in grooming him by reaching back and giving you a nibble. While he means well, you can’t allow this sort of behavior. You should make it clear to the horse that nibbles, friendly or otherwise, are taboo. This is often done by the straightforward act of pushing the horse’s face away in order that it faces forward again. An alternative way you can do this is to wave your hands in front of you, signalling to the pony in a way he is going to understand that you are creating a confining wall. Ensure you don’t go wildly semaphoring your hands in such a way your entire body is moving with them. You do it in a relaxed and easy way. Excited behavior from you generates nervous energy in the pony, because he may see your behaviour as threatening. If that happens, then you’re not doing a lot of good to your activities to build a solid bond with your horse.
Open the way to in depth coaching
Work under saddle and lunging are vital groundwork components, but unfortunately they aren’t given sufficient importance all too often. The common horse owner makes the mistake of assuming that some mounted and some under-saddle work is sufficient for teaching the horse; she doesn’t give due significance to getting effective groundwork done. Usually such pony owners fail to train their horses to “Whoa!” when they do groundwork. That suggests the pony isn’t going to recognise the importance of the word “Whoa!” when a person is in the saddle. The unfortunate part is that when a horse fails to respond to a rider’s “Whoa!”. That rider immediately assumes the foal is behaving badly. Riders actually don’t think enough about gaps in the training the horse has received. A good tutor would have familiarized the pony with “Whoa!” during groundwork in order that it would have no problems with the term when being ridden.
All structures are at their strongest when their foundations are well built, and this is the case with a horse’s behaviour too. The foundation for horses is groundwork. Wrong groundwork will reflect itself in the horse’s responses and behaviour when under saddle. It is actually true that most issues that arise under saddle with a horse’s responses and behavior can be properly attributed to poor groundwork coaching, and not to the horse’s own nature.
Ground coaching should be conducted with kindness and patience. You must remember that one of the objectives of effective groundwork coaching is to establish total mutual trust and confidence between you and your pony. Immaculate connection with your horse will serve you perfectly well for years and years to come.
Keep things safe
A pony without the right ground coaching can have defiant traits. For one he may not let himself be led out of his stall and saddled eagerly. He may resist you in your endeavors. This defiance can build up till it reaches physically dangerous proportions. Your pony may start bucking, endangering itself, the rider and others in the area. Proper groundwork begins with teaching your horse the idea of personal space. When well taught, a horse will not be inclined to move blindly, without thought of consequence to anyone standing near. He is going to know how to maintain correct body posture. This is very useful when your pony is going through uncomfortable or potentially unpleasant experiences like he might have with farriers and vets. Times like that, a horse who knows how to remain still can be a benefit, since it won’t involve any required jerking or pulling on the halter.
You will find that with effective two-way communication, your relationship with your pony can be long term and extraordinarily rewarding.