Some people believe that all you need is love, which of course is true, but when it comes to training horses, all you really need is GROUNDWORK. Groundwork is the key to success in shaping any relationship or bond with your horse. A quote I found says this:
“No hour of life is wasted when teaching your horse groundwork.” – Kim Wende
This past weekend I worked with my horse Sky. I hadn’t ridden her in a while and, honestly, I wasn’t too sure how it was going to go, especially with the -30 cold spell we have been having here in Canada. I decided that instead of riding her I would work with her and do some groundwork. I did a couple groundwork exercises including lunging, liberty, turn on the forehand and on the haunches.
Doing Groundwork really helped me to reflect on what is important when working with horses. Groundwork is the foundation of any relationship with a horse, it helps to strengthen trust, and it plays a vital role in the beginning of training a horse. I find that groundwork acts as a constant reminder of how well you are doing and how strong your bond is with your horse. Groundwork can also be a reflection of what you need to improve on and practice. Whenever I feel discouraged or feel that my horse and I are not progressing, I ALWAYS take it back to the basics.
When we are so focused on riding, we can ignore the fact that our horse might not be happy and may become frustrated. Horses can get bored, so switching up their daily routine is wise in helping them to become the best horse they can be and in turn, making us better riders. These past few months I have found that my horse has been quite grumpy, whenever I ride her. This has been reminding me to switch it up and to have FUN! If your horse is starting to get frustrated, try some groundwork and you will definitely start to notice a change in their attitude. Groundwork helps your horse and yourself to gain confidence before you ride and ensures that a foundation has been formed.
So, if you are not feeling confident, try groundwork today and watch how it affects both you and your horse! Until next time… don’t forget to hug your horse!