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The Horse Logic Blog

Friday, April 27, 2007

3 Reasons That Groundwork is Important

Groundwork is important for many reasons. Here are the three most important reasons that horses should have a good foundation in groundwork, with a reputable trainer.


First of all you and your horse will improve and build your relationship with one another.

You can improve your relationship with your horse through grooming. This also helps to set "boundaries" for your horse. For example if you are brushing your horse, and he tries to reach around and give you a friendly nibble (return grooming), and it gives you an opportunity to let your horse know that "friendly" nibbles are inappropriate.


Secondly, proper groundwork will give your horse a very solid foundation for more advanced training.

Lunging and under-saddle work is an important aspect of groundwork that is often overlooked. It is very common for average horse owners to discredit the importance of groundwork, and just focus on the "now". For example they won't teach their horse to "whoa" during groundwork. Then when they are in the saddle the horse doesn't understand "whoa". When the horse doesn't understand the "whoa", it is now the horses fault. If the trainer had taught the horse to "whoa" while doing groundwork, it would have carried over to the under-saddle work. Which would have made it much easier for the horse to understand whoa under-saddle. This is why you need to have good solid groundwork. Just like a home has a solid foundation, groundwork is a horses solid foundation for training. Without a solid foundation everything will begin to crumble, and in a horses case it will have various training issues that develop. Almost every single issue that occurs under-saddle, can be attributed in some way to poor ground training.


Thirdly ground work is also very important for the safety of handler and horse.

If your horse does not have solid ground training it can become a chore just to lead your horse out of his stall, put him in the crossties and tack him/ her up. From there it can escalate until you have a safety issue that not only affects you , but now affects others around you. Solid ground work starts by teaching a horse its personal space "bubble". Teaching a horse where it's "bubble" is also allows the handler to direct where a horse places its body. By teaching a horse where it is comfortable to be, he becomes much easier and safer to handle.

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