Posts Tagged ‘ground work’

Reo’s Training: The importance of ground work & Voice commands

We got Reo (aka Jalapeno) several weeks ago. The first time we rode he was an angel, the 2nd time we tried to ride he was a young bronco. We have decided to do some more training with him to make him safe. There is only one thing that breaks a horse, and that is miles. I am a strong believer in ground work. If horses learn to respect you from the ground, more than likely they will be more respectful in the saddle. This also is a great safety measure.

Reo has been ridden by his previous owners, but hasn’t had a lot of training. We decided to start with his ground work, signals, brakes, reverse, and especially stopping and being patient. The more you work with your horse from the ground, the more control you will have in the saddle.

In this short amount of time Reo has quickly learned all his ques. It is very important to use key words, to say them loud and stern, (not yelling) but for the horse to know what command you are asking. When I train a horse I give lots of praise, horses learn by praise. They love the rubbing, and the good boy, good girl. When I am on the ground either doing long rein or lunging it is important to give signals to the horse as to what you are asking.

When I want a horse to slow down I use the command “easy” this is better than saying “Whoa” because you would like them to slow down not stop, by doing this you are less likely to confuse the horse. I tap and release on the reins, and say easy. We go from a jog to a walk. When I want to stop them I say “Whoa” they stop. This allows the horse and you not to get hurt by saying “Whoa” at a full gallop. When I want the horse to stand still, I say “Stand” this is also important to say when mounting, dismounting, etc. Reo gets impatient and so we will be working more on our “Stand.” I will also teach a horse to move over. This comes in very handy when loading up in a trailer, or if you are in a tight area. I use the key word “over” and give him a signal with my hand.

If a horse doesn’t want to stand still for you, put him on a lunge line, ask him to “stand” when trying to get on. If he insists on moving ask him to work by lunging him. Most horses don’t like to work, this has worked great for me in the past.

Chrystal Ground driving Reo

Chrystal Ground driving Reo

When I train a horse, I always train them from both sides. Their brain is cut in ½ so what they learn on the left side, they will not learn on the right. They also see things differently, we see what is going on with both of our eyes, horses on the other hand see things with either their left eye or the right. Back in Medieval times horses were mounted from the left side due to the knights carrying their swords on right side.

Now we do so much more with horses, trail riding up in the mountains, the hills overlooking the bay of Ensenada Mexico, through trees, on the beach, etc. it is vital that you train your horse to mount from both sides, to be worked with from both sides. You never know when the time may come when you must step on the right side on the stirrup.  A sprained ankle, a cliff on the other side of you, a broken strap on the stirrup, the list can go on.

The goal of ground training is you and your horse are safe when you get up in the saddle. When starting a young horse, a bit, and using pressure on the mouth can be a frightening thing. Same with putting a saddle on their back, they have to get used to the idea, and what you are asking from the ground. This creates a much easier relationship in the saddle, your horse will know what the pressure means, and how to give to the bit. This makes for a much safer horse/ rider environment.

In summation, practice your key words from the ground and your horse will then learn to listen to your voice in the saddle.

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