So after bringing out all of my jumps yesterday to try and sell them, I had some motivation to get the arena groomed. And with a freshly groomed arena, this is the perfect opportunity to work on groundwork exercises.
And once the arena was all beautiful, partly from the dumping of rain we have had almost every day, I decided to work with both of my horses on the great ground.
I love when the ground is perfect. It just makes it so much more fun to get out there with the boys.
On a side note, I am so glad we bought the new tractor. All of my arena implements hook up to it easily, and I can drive it. This was definitely worth the investment.
Ground Work Is Good
If you are trying to build your confidence, there is nothing like a few good lessons of ground work to help build your confidence. Even if you are afraid to get up into the saddle, working from the ground can help get you into the saddle, when you’re ready.
For Frisby we worked on yielding the hindquarters, because I am not very good at giving him the correct cue.
Thankfully he is very forgiving, and understands what I am asking of him.
I can also perfect what I am asking with him first, and then try and do the same with Ethan.
Having The Right Tools
Just like everything else when it comes to working with horses, having the right tools makes everything so much easier.
Knotted Rope Halter
The knots are situated over pressure points that apply pressure and release it quickly when your horse does the right thing.
Yacht Rope Lead Rope
The heaviness of the yacht rope lead also makes it perfect for groundwork. And the length of it allows you to lunge, or lead.
But it can be a bit of a struggle figuring out where you want it to go on the ground. But it’s a lot easier than a 30 foot lunge line!
Clinician Style Stick and String
When I am working with my horses on the ground, I do use a clinician style stick and string a lot. It is the perfect blend of a lunge whip, with options.
It has a nice handle with a little bit of weight. The stick is very helpful for all aspects of lunging my horses.
But when I am working on smaller movements, like getting them to yield the hindquarters, or tuns on the forehand I prefer to use a lightweight dressage whip.
It has some length to it, but is very lightweight. This way I can maneuver myself around my horse easily without tripping on the stick and string.
Ground Poles for Groundwork
Another helpful tool to have is a few ground poles.
I have my traditional poles, but I also have a few other types of poles to use.
Homemade Foam Squishy Rails
I made these squishy rails last winter. And while they live in my jump locker most of the time, they are really fun to bring out into the arena.
They definitely are something curious for the horses to work over.
Homemade Pool Noodle Rails
And I made these a couple of months ago using pool noodles.
I was trying to find an affordable alternative to wooden jump rails, but they are better suited for a ground obstacle.
They also ended up costing about the same amount of money as buying some landscaping timbers. And they also sag a lot more than I anticipated. Which is ok, and I can work with it.
But they really are fun to use as ground poles.
Have Fun And Work With Your Horse
Just getting the poles set up, and getting out in the arena is a lot of fun, even if you aren’t in the saddle.
And depending on how many poles you have, you can set up a lot of different obstacles to work with. All from the ground.
And eventually, when you build up your confidence level, and are happy with how you and your horse are working on the ground, you can get into the saddle.
Challenge Day 11- Groundwork Exercises
The big goal is to get out there and work with your horse. Whether that is from the ground or in the saddle. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you actually do it!
So stop making excuses, and get out there with your horse. (I am talking to myself here)
And find what motivates you to make you do it!