Groundwork

Groundwork

Try these exercises with your horse to help improve your communication and bond with your horse as well as teach him basic skills and manners.

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Groundwork
  • How Horses Learn

    Listen to Chelsea talk about how horses, as prey animals, think, learn and how that affects their reactions. They want to do as little as possible, move quickly and be safe. Their instinct and their nature is to move towards a place where they can be relaxed. They live in the moment, which is typ...

  • Introducing Ditches From The Ground

    Chelsea works with her horse over a ditch, which can be very challenging for the horse. She really lets her horse investigate the ditch and is not interested in making her jump it right away. Rather, she wants to give the horse ample opportunity to smell it, look at it and walk around it.

  • Introducing A Jump From The Ground

    Chelsea likes to end the cross-country session with something simple to serve as a confidence builder for the horse. She works with the horse over a small log to end on a positive note.

  • Introduction To Cross Country Groundwork

    Chelsea introduces her series of how she works with a horse on the ground out on the cross-country course and the equipment she uses. She uses groundwork to introduce her horse to different types of obstacles.

  • Introducing Banks From The Ground

    Chelsea explains and demonstrates how she introduces a horse to going up and down a bank. To start, she leads the horse up and down the bank at a walk and encourages her to stay slow and relaxed. When the horse gets excited, she goes back to trying the get the horse to take her time.

  • Introducing Water From The Ground

    Chelsea explains and demonstrates different ways she introduces a horse to going through a water obstacle. She explains how to encourage the horse's curiosity towards an object and positively reinforces the horse any time she makes a move toward or in the water.

  • Intro to In-Hand Work

    In this brief video, 2021 Dressage at Devon winner and head trainer at Hilltop Farm, Michael Bragdell introduces his collection on how he starts working his horses in hand leading up to performing half-steps with them. He gives a simple explanation of what he does and why he does it.

  • Equipment and Tack for In-Hand Work

    Michael explains his choices for equipment, from bridles to footwear to whips, that he uses for his groundwork and why. Overall, his choices are simple with safety and ease of use in mind.

  • Yielding to the Rein

    The first step in Michael process is to see how the horse yields to the rein on both sides. He wants them to follow the pressure of the rein, and when the horse bends around and follows the rein, he releases the pressure. He also explains and demonstrates how it can be different on each side.

  • Walking and Halting In-Hand

    The next step in the progression is to take the horse to the rail/wall to walk and halt the horse in-hand. The horse, especially if he is young, he does not ask the horse to be on the bit. He shows how to hold the reins and the whip, as well as walking backwards, which will take practice to get c...

  • Teaching Rein Back In-Hand

    There are many other skills you can teach your horse from the ground. The first one Michael does is the rein back. He uses this for obedience and to teach the horse to weight the hind leg. He teaches it on the ground first before transferring it over to under saddle. In this video, he explains an...

  • Moving the Hind Leg Laterally

    Once the horse yields to the rein, Michael asks the horse to move her hind leg laterally underneath her belly and away from him. He first makes sure the horse is not overly reactive to the whip. The goal is to do as little as possible, but as much as needed, to get the results he wants.

  • Hind Leg Moment of Pause

    Once the horse stands relaxed at the rail, Michael asks the hind leg to react to the bamboo stick. He looking for the moment of suspension when the horse holds the leg in the air. He doesnt want to emphasize the moment of her pushing down. Where on the leg you tap the horse depends on where the i...

  • Half a Half-Step

    The next progression is to eliminate the moment of pause. Michael still just has a hold of the left rein and isnt asking the horse to be on the bit. He just wants her to be straight. It takes time and practice to be able to walk backwards and be ready to quickly and accurately apply pressure to t...

  • Every Four Steps

    Once the horse stops and picks up the hind leg, the next step is to make it more sophisticated while keeping the rhythmic sequence of picking up the left hind leg and then the right hind leg. He then leads the horse forward four steps, pauses and then asks her to pick up the left hind leg. Clever...

  • Performing Half Steps In-Hand

    When the horse can perform all the smaller pieces easily, she is ready to try the actual half-steps. In this video, Michael picks up the contact, walks backwards first and then asks for the half-steps. Rewarding for a good attempt is to drop the reins, take the whip away (removing the pressure) a...

  • In-Hand Leg Yield

    Especially with younger horses, Michael likes to introduce lateral work concepts on the ground before doing them under saddle. In this video, he explains and demonstrates executing a leg yield in-hand. It also gives him the opportunity to get an idea of how the horse feels before he gets on.

  • In-Hand Shoulder-In

    The next lateral movement Michael works with is shoulder-in. In this short video, he explains and demonstrates executing a shoulder-in. He does not look for the exact bend and position that he would want under saddle. Rather, he looks for an attempt and basic positioning to give him a place to st...

  • In-Hand Haunches-In and Half Pass

    Finally, Michael shows how to perform haunches-in and half pass from the ground. Haunches-in, in particular, can be difficult to execute because the person has to be on the outside and between the horse and the wall. Again, Michael looks for the horse to try the basics of the movements so she sta...

  • Parking at the Mounting Block

    One of the more unique skills that Michael teaches his horses isœparking at the mounting block. He feels one of the most important skills to teach a horse is to stand still while being mounted. He demonstrates how he teaches this particular task, including standing on the horse left side and aski...

  • Groundwork Tools

    Monique talks about the tools that she uses for groundwork such as a rope halter and a small flag on the end of a stick. She explains her thought processes behind them, what you can use that you already have and when you might want to try something different. She also demonstrates how to positive...

  • Yielding Left and Right

    Monique shows how she can create suppleness on the ground. She wants the horse to give, bend or drop his head immediately when she touches the lead rope. Ideally, she wants the horse's ears stay up and that he doesn't twist his head or neck. She also wants it to be very light and soft.

  • Understanding Rhythmic Pressure

    Monique explains the concept of rhythmic pressure. Naturally horses will be in sync with the rest of the herd. When the person is out of rhythm is can cause confusion in the horse. She explains herd dynamics and how horses move each other and then how a person can utilize that to move a horse awa...

  • Follow the Feeling of the Lead Rope

    Monique demonstrates how to show a horse how to follow the feeling of the lead rope, when the ground person is on the opposite side. It helps them coordinate their feet, and it desensitizes the horse to something around his hind legs.