Better tools for better groundwork

Day 3 Of The Confident Rider Challenge

To get going in our quest for confidence we will be working from the ground first. Boring right? Well sort of, but not really. Working from the ground and creating a strong foundation relationship with our horses on the ground will keep us safer and happier in the saddle. And to do ground work we will need the appropriate tools. And if you don’t have these tools but want to buy them, I have added some affiliate links to these products where you can buy them affordably. I feel that these tools have made a huge difference in working with my horses, which is why I am sharing them with you. If you really want to see a difference, and improve your level of confidence, these tools will help you.

If you can’t afford them now, that’s ok, use what you have. But if there is anyway you can buy them, I would encourage you to do so. They aren’t that expensive, and you will notice an improvement from the first time you use them.

To be effective in our ground work we will need a few tools:

Knotted Rope Halter

The clinician style rope halter is the one you want. It is made of thin polyester rope that has knots tied into the halter at precise points that work on pressure points. When you apply pressure, pressure is applied to the horse. And when he gives in to the pressure, he gets an immediate reward, or release of the pressure.

Better Tools For Better Groundwork

At first when I saw this style of halter I wasn’t sold on it. I didn’t like the way it looked, because it’s not a ‘traditional’ style halter. But from the very first time I put it on my horse, it worked. I was so impressed with the results that I got, I didn’t care what it looked like from that point forward. And they last forever! I have had my Clinton Anderson halter for over 6 years now, and I still use it every day with my horses.

Better Tools For Better Groundwork

And you don’t have to buy the $36.50 halter from Clinton Anderson. A company called Knotty Girlz on Amazon has incredible halters for $18.50. They work just as well as the name brand halter. This is the one I bought specifically for Ethan for this challenge. Remember what I said about rewarding yourself? Buying a new training set was my reward to help motivate me to complete this challenge with Ethan.

15 Foot Yacht Rope Lead Rope

It may sound odd to use a 15 foot long lead rope, but it works. You can do so much groundwork and tying with this rope. And again, I bought a new one from Knotty Girlz on Amazon.

Better Tools For Better Groundwork

The big difference between this lead and a traditional one is the rope it is made from. This lead is made from yacht rope, the stuff they use to tie boats to docks. It is very flexible and has some weight to it. Which makes it very nice to use for training. And they come in different circumferences too. The one I bought is 1/2″ rope. I like how it fits in my hand, and it is easier to fit through my tie ring when I tie my horse.

Better Tools For Better Groundwork

And having a longer lead rope is great for groundwork. I can lunge Ethan with this rope, work on throwing the lead rope at him, and so many other things. It also cleans up easily if it gets wet or dirty. Mine drags on the ground all the time when I am working with Ethan, and it is very sturdy.

Stick And String

This is a whip, and a training tool all in one. And The one I have had for years is the Clinton Anderson handy stick. But I wanted to buy a new one to try out and see if it was just as good as the CA one. And it is, at half the cost. The Clinton Anderson handy stick will cost you $61.90. And you have to buy the stick and the string separately. But I found a stick by Tough-One for $22.05 on Amazon. And it works just the same as the Clinton Anderson handy stick.

Better Tools For Better Groundwork

The stick has a gold club style hand grip and a fiberglass shaft. The end has an opening to attach the string, or something scary, like a plastic bag for training. The string has a popper style end and works great as a lunge whip. It has more weight to it, which allows you to control the whip much better. And the length of the shaft is about 3 feet, which helps you to establish your ‘bubble’ or personal space that is yours, and your horse needs to learn how to respect.

Better Tools For Better Groundwork


Why these tools? They work! Of all of the training tools I have tried with my horses, these are the three I have had the most success with.

Daily Challenge

Ok, hopefully you have these tools. But if you don’t that’s ok, for now. But if you want to really build your relationship with your horse, I really encourage you to give these a try. And if you can’t commit to buying all 3 pieces, start with one. I would recommend getting the halter first. It is the least expensive of the 3 items and from the first time you use it, you will see a difference.

And if you already have these tools, go practice with them. If you have the lead rope, or the stick and string go out and work with your horse for 15 minutes. Take him for a walk around the arena. Work on leading and stopping. Work on him bending from side to side. Anything you have seen or tried that the fancy natural horsemanship people do, give it a try. And then look for one of the 5 signs of relaxation I talked about yesterday.

What It Looks Like When Your Horse Is Relaxed

See if you can get your horse to show you at least one sign of relaxation, while you are using these tools. If you are able to get just one sign, stop for the day. And be sure to give your horse a big rub, and tell him how great he did! And don’t forget to recognize yourself for getting out there and working with your horse for the day. Well done!


I am horse crazy and love DIY projects, and finding great deals on everything horse related. When I have a new idea, or find a great deal I love sharing this information with you.

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