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bit

ground work before riding. how important is it?

When I was practicing Parelli I was told to game my horse before every ride to see what side of the corral she woke up on.  Water hole rituals you are supposed to share territory and whatever rituals are appropriate for the situation.  Kelsey pretty much hops on and goes.  I'll add that Kelsey also spends a lot of time with her horses NOT riding, too.  I do read my horse and see where he or she is coming from before I ride.  Sometimes they just want to hang out and spend time before we play, some like Hawk like to play, and Eclipse just wants me to take off the damned grazing muzzle so she can eat.  No riding, thanks.  Bitty is more of the opinion of "don't even think about it".  Gunner is always up for a ride and loves to work.  He is especially fond of hanging out and grazing together.  
What do you all do before you ride your horse?  Ground work, lounging, liberty play, hang out?  Trail walks on line?  Equisize?
Sunny Acres Ranch

As with so many things in life, my answer is "It depends".  I handle a lot of different horses, some with not much prior groundwork, some with quite a bit. Before I will ride, they have to know at minimum how to disengage the HQ, back up from the nose and halter, do lateral flexion from the ground, and go in a circle walk/trot in both directions around me.  Once they know this, then I give each thing a quick check and get ready to ride.

If I have a horse that is not started under saddle, or is started but has issues, then I do a whole lot more ground work prior to riding.

On my L3 gelding, I can usually tell what mood is he in by how he walks to the arena, stands for saddling, and takes the bit. With him, I usually just send him in a couple of circles in between cinchings, and then hop on.
HopeMissouri

Yes, I do warm up my horses...and, try to remember to do my personal stretches, too, before I trailride.  My horses are asked to do some circling, backing and sideways movements.  Often a few steps this way, then that, as I saddle.   Plus, a few warm up exercises that I learned in the Larry Whitesell Clinics.  

Starting on-line backing to ensure my saddle is centered.  (It's probably just me but I have a real tough time getting the saddle centered on Chip, not so much trouble on shorter Jazz.)  Followed by some circling and falling leaf, then check girth adjustment.  Usually having to tighten.  Then wrap up the ground play with a couple of the LW exercises I've watched him do to loosen up my gaited horses.

Then, my favorite riding buddy, Susanfxtrt, and I play gait transition games, and visit as we RIDE!

I've never seen Susan (L3 Grad of Old program) ever not warm up her horse from the ground before we ride.  Some of our best visiting with other riders or bicylists or walkers is while we're warming up our horses!    



(Chip is NOT particularly thrilled with his flybonnet.)
PasoBaby_CarolU

I agree with "just depends."  

I like to start all young horses with up to Old Level 3 Ground work before saddle starting.  I want the horse comfortably driving from Zone 3, knowing what I'm asking from there, before moving forward.  

After that, I'll continue ground work, a lot of times just Circling Game for exercise on days I'm not riding that horse.  I will circle horses several miles a day for exercise.  

Once I start riding, and ever afterwards I like to do *some* ground work before getting on, usually just some circles, backs, sidepasses, etc. to get the saddle in the sweet spot before tightening the cinch and getting on.   This few minutes has paid off in SPADES as I've seen more then one person go flying from a bad buckle, twisted leather, or ring poking a horse.  A few minutes to make sure all is right with my horse and tack is well worth the time.
ElaineW

My thoughts on this....
At one time I was OVERBOARD on the groundwork before riding.. But now I know it was my mental state that ruined the relationship with my first horse..
With Jet I didn't ever do ground work before..
This is interesting.. With Levi I have been working with him for just over 2 months now.. he's doing awesome with our sessions.. But unless I am trying to get something done specific, well i will just see if he's paying attention.. Might do a circle or do, a direction change, maybe a eye change or 2..
Most times after the eye changes he's ready..
I did 'just saddle and go' a couple times. I found I had to do some lateral bends, and some circles in the saddle before he was totally focused on me.

Now in 6 months this might change! Having a horse that I ground work and ride is really fun! hahaha

I know a person that has a younger horse,, does not do ground work and have watched them fall apart. He's went from drifting while mounting, to changing gait and direction during the ride, to crowhopping during canter, to full on bucking bronco fits.. .
Now the person has FEAR to add to the mix.

When I took Levi off for that one ride when we got there he was not focused,, it took a long time to get him rideable.. and if He had not gotten focused I would not have gotten on.
alexwein

My thoughts on groundwork go more in the direction of 'only as much as required.' This will vary with different horses.  I look for certain things to be in place--softness in response to changes in direction, following the feel of the lead rope, ease of transitions, no worries or brace when asking for transitions, backing up, change in direction.  These kinds of things.  If I have these things, then up I go.  If a horse showed me this pretty quick, then no need to do more and up I go.  If I see a lot of brace, worry, not responding to feel, tension in making transitions, then I'll do more until I see these things.

I took my 14 mos. old up till she was 24 mos. old just doing groundwork.  I don't care about levels, but I did do some Parelli work with her that was great.  Lots of obstacle work, did all the stuff I mentioned, taught her to drive from all zones, etc.  By the time I got up into the saddle, it was like rolling of a log for her.  Easy, easy.  Except for the rolling part.  LOL.  She didn't care for the feeling of the scratchy saddle pad and my weight up on her for the first few rides and didn't roll but sure wanted to.  

I would say that you need to research for yourself to see what needs to be in place.  Different teachers will say different things.  For sure, though, you need to have a fair degree of softness and comfort in the horse with doing basic things, like moving forward, backing, turning, following the feel of your lead, appropriate response to pressure, STOPPING.  Very important, a good stop!  A certain degree of confidence.

So, my little saying would be 'only what is required or necessary' to set a good foundation.  After that, as I said at the start, I'd do a quick check up to see how the horse is feeling about things that day.  Could take a couple of minutes, could take longer.  I wouldn't get up on the horse without a good degree of softness and relaxation being in place.  With a more seasoned horse, I think you'd get that pretty much right off.
Mandy'sMarty

For me...it depends. It depends on which horse shows up that day.

Mandy is my one and only ride. I truly believe that she is an extraordinary horse and our relationship is special. Perhaps one reason ours endures is because I allow Mandy to have an opinion. As long as I spend enough time with her, I find that she is "with me" emotionally and mentally. Along our journey together I learned that Mandy merely tolerated most of the 7 Games, and she resented habitual repetitive groundwork as a prelude to our rides. Fortunately I quit focusing on the tasks and learned to be more aware of Mandy's mood.

For the last couple of years, I have kept the pre-ride groundwork to a minimum and use it to check her body movement and to gradually adjust her cinch. Sometimes I just tack her up and go. I'm spoiled in that Mandy will let me know immediately if any part of her tack is not properly adjusted, positioned and secure. If it's not right, she usually won't let me mount up.

I've found that it's more fun for both of us to incorporate various mounted moves or Games into our pre-ride pattern. For Mandy, she is more than willing to try or demonstrate a move that has a purpose, i.e. opening/closing gate, walking backwards through gate, sidepass to the mounting block, etc.

Perhaps the most significant pre-ride ritual I "discovered" is offering Mandy a cookie at each toe-in-stirrup as I quietly sit in the saddle after mounting up. This gesture has simply and permanently broken her pattern of being extremely braced and stubborn during the ride. No more braced neck. No more reefing her head around and yanking the reins from my hands. No more arguments. Practically overnight, she became soft and supple and started tuning her ears to me throughout the ride.

Now I prefer to work out most issues that may arise--while riding. I feel confident in being able to resolve her rare emotional outbursts by simply letting her run and vent her frustration. It's part of the "mind-melding" process that we share.
Gallop On

I always do, even if it's at least for five minutes. I used to do it to be %100 my mare was calm and rideable but then I learned she has a horsenality switch as soon as I get on her back so there's kind of no point to it now   Although I do ask them to do stuff like figure eights, circles, backing, etc. during the process of saddling them.
alexwein

Yes, I too work out a lot of things riding. In fact, I have much more experience working things out mounted and never used to do any groundwork check before riding.  Now, I want my horse to be in a relatively good state of mind before I get on.  Makes working things out on her back a lot easier.  Differs with different horses, or even with the same horse day to day.

I also think my horse is extraordinary.  Well, she is! She is by far the most beautiful, intelligent, loving, connected horse in the entire world.  

Dakota also barely tolerated the 7 games since it took her about a minute to learn them and mostly found them to be extremely boring. She also needs to feel things have a purpose.  When she does, she's amazing.
whudson

Mandy'sMarty wrote:
For me...it depends. It depends on which horse shows up that day.
I truly believe that she is an extraordinary horse and our relationship is special. Perhaps one reason ours endures is because I allow Mandy to have an opinion. As long as I spend enough time with her, I find that she is "with me" emotionally and mentally. Along our journey together I learned that Mandy merely tolerated most of the 7 Games, and she resented habitual repetitive groundwork as a prelude to our rides. Fortunately I quit focusing on the tasks and learned to be more aware of Mandy's mood.

For the last couple of years, I have kept the pre-ride groundwork to a minimum and use it to check her body movement and to gradually adjust her cinch. Sometimes I just tack her up and go. I'm spoiled in that Mandy will let me know immediately if any part of her tack is not properly adjusted, positioned and secure. If it's not right, she usually won't let me mount up.

.


I could have written this for me and Kitt for sure.  By the time I get him from the field , allow him to eat some grass, saddle up, tighten cinch, I definetly know his mood.  It's only then that I make the decision to ride or not.  I may saddle and not ride...it depends.  I don't routinely do ground work as the ground work is done on the way into the barn...how is he responding..how soft is he when I ask him to lead, does he come to me from the field...I always know.  

If I had a new horse, I think I would always do ground work until I knew his moods and could read him with little difficulty.
misstux

Mostly now I just get on and ride.  Of course I have spent eons brushing Scout, fluffing his stall and walking him around to get his joints lubed.  We may or may not practice a few yields while walking.  Scout recently was used to give a lesson to a never been on a horse before child; this was after both I and the trainer rode him.  He has been under saddle about a year now.  The trainers wish they had a barnful of horses like him.  That is also not to say that Scout can't misbehave.  I love my free to a good home if you can get along with him BLM mustang.  Maybe tomorrow I will remember my camera and can get a pic of us to post in that discussion.
Blue Flame

We're pretty routine about it.

After the saddle is on,

1. BB's engaged version of the falling leaf at the walk.
2. 1 trot circle each way with a change of direction in between.
3. Sideways towards and tighten girth a bit.
4. Back out to end of rope.
5. 1 trot circle each way with a change of direction going other way.
6. Sideways towards and tighten girth a bit more.
7. Back out to end of rope.
8. 1 canter circle each way.
9. Sideways towards and final check on girth.

If backup or foward movement is not good, we'll revert to some Parelli version of falling leaf.

If sideways towards is not good, we'll do some backwards "S".

This only takes a few minutes at the most and the horse knows what to expect because its routine. We give him lots of clues if we're intending to ride - what we take out to put on his head, brushing the saddle area etc. We're also checking for physical issues at the same time and warming his muscles a little. This is his opportunity to let us know if something is off.

If he is physically off - no ride. If he is mentally off, we may either work on that a little or just work with that during the ride.

In the end there is 1 main rule and that is to make sure not to sneak a ride on the horse. He knows if we intend to ride the moment he sees us enter the paddock by whether we bring the Parelli halter or the Lightrider. THIS is where the ride starts. He gets a choice in the matter by putting his nose in the halter - or not. If he doesn't want to we'll wait. If you just place the halter on his head, then he is like - "ha! you made me", but if we wait then at worst he is like, "oh, alright then" and puts his nose in. At this point he is agreeing to the possibility of a ride only. If he walks or runs off, then it's a change of plans to maybe a liberty session in the paddock with his herd - either liberty and finish or liberty then ride depending on how it goes. We'd probably start liberty in his paddock then open a gate to the next paddock and see if he is willing to come through.
cheerios

With a young horse, green horse or horse I don't know very well--always plenty of groundwork before riding.

I use the ground work to assess what mood the horse is in and how responsive the horse is to my cues and requests.

With horses who are going nicely under saddle and who I've worked extensively with, sometimes we'll work on some ground work, sometimes we won't.

With these horses I can usually get a pretty good idea of their mood and attitude for the day walking from the pasture and while I tack them.
cokey

Pat's new "rules" are..

The ONLY 3 reasons we play on the ground are:

1. To teach the horse something
2. To teach the human something
3 To prepare for riding.

Just so you know  

I get the impression that he thinks that he's created a whole group of people that turn groundwork into circus tricks... And he's sadly right in MANY cases...

So yes, I check out my horse on the ground. But if I'm going to ride, I check out enough so that I can see my horse is ok, and then I get on and ride..
PasoBaby_CarolU

cokey wrote:


I get the impression that he thinks that he's created a whole group of people that turn groundwork into circus tricks... And he's sadly right in MANY cases...


Interesting Cokey.  I have seen more then one person who groundworks a horse to death, but is afraid to ride the horse.  I have mixed feelings about this, since it really IS about riding.   But, I also think that horses that JUST have groundwork at least have MORE then all the pasture ornaments out there that just get fed.  I live in the country here and I swear many of these horses never leave their coral....period.
Blue Flame

cokey wrote:
I get the impression that he thinks that he's created a whole group of people that turn groundwork into circus tricks... And he's sadly right in MANY cases....
Personally, I have no problem with this. If that is want somone wants to do with their horse - more power to them.
Clarissa

For me it all depends on the horse that turns up on the day like Marty also said. I firmly believe you can bore a horse to death doing groundwork & along the way destroy a perfectly good relationship. Of course there would be exceptions as there are people who can’t ride & have a perfectly good relationship with their horse!

My aim is be sure I am talking successfully to each of the 4 quarters & getting my message to the feet in a timely fashion & that I am engaging both sides of the brain ie both sides are awake! Also that the stop & go buttons work effectively, & that any flight has been dissipated.

That may take 30secs or 30mins depending on the horse & situation.  In many of my videos I do a series of change eyes moves which if executed properly shows me I’m talking to every part of the horse.

Many years ago I learned not to do the 7games in ritualistic order because usually that will brain wash the horse & it won’t conform unless the ritual has been enacted whether it is needed or not. What that means is that if you brain wash the horse you WILL need to do the 7games as a ritual regardless, which is not the actual reason for them.

Once the horse is effectively educated you should be able to (if necessary) just get on & go occasionally. I practise that with each of my horses. Sort of like perfect practise in the proper position…… …  I test them to see if I can just get on & go if needed. I may not stay on long, but I might just ride 5mins or I might get straight off again. I will test them when it is hoof trimming time too. Can I just walk into the paddock with tools in hand & ask for a leg & go about my job while they keep grazing or whatever? Of course I will make an educated decision about their general state of mind & if they are displaying flightiness I won’t ‘test’ them. I think it’s good for them to know that anything can be done to & with them without the absolute need for preliminaries.

Another place where I have tested mine is floating. I have checked to see if I can just call Sonny, load & go. Will he ‘get back at me’ later in the day? I think I have their respect sufficiently that when I ask for their attention, they know I mean NOW & COMPLETE. Like ‘you have 10steps to wake up both sides of your brain & get with me!’ There are times when I can see it just isn’t going to happen, so I need to take the time it takes & there will be no testing today.

Hertha

Marty wrote
Quote:
Perhaps the most significant pre-ride ritual I "discovered" is offering Mandy a cookie at each toe-in-stirrup as I quietly sit in the saddle after mounting up. This gesture has simply and permanently broken her pattern of being extremely braced and stubborn during the ride. No more braced neck. No more reefing her head around and yanking the reins from my hands. No more arguments. Practically overnight, she became soft and supple and started tuning her ears to me throughout the ride.


I too have found this very helpful.  We also added a touch of vertical flexion when we learned the Ueberstreichen exercises and Boots offers this for her third treat.

I agree that horses probably recognise all sorts of hints to our procedure when we get ready to ride and are well aware that's gonna happen next (usually).  How many of us saddle up and don't ride.  How often?

If I'm collecting Boots from the paddock, we do some UE exercises or I click and treat for ears forward as we walk along.  We do some 'shadow me' games as we walk to the tack room, including back-ups.  So by the time we get to the barn she's pretty cued-in.

Then we clean feet and groom and she has a sniff of the saddle pad.

If she's already in the arena, I do some WHR type stuff - shadow me and quiding from behind with WHOAs built in.  Some 'go trot'.  That gives me a great idea of how energetic (or mostly, in her case, how unenergetic   ) she is feeling.

I think I'll begin to do the WHR things after saddling up.  If I am working on maintaining canter, we may warm up with all the games and obstacles until I feel she is warmed up enough to canter.  Otherwise we may do a potpourri of games and get on with it.

I usually work to a timeline before I have to stop and go to work, so it depends whether my session emphasis is on learning or improving some groundwork or on a decent-length ride.
cokey

Blue Flame wrote:
Personally, I have no problem with this. If that is want somone wants to do with their horse - more power to them.


I completely agree - if that's what you want to do, fine! But what I was getting at is that people seem to think that's ALL NH is..  This "Way more than riding" bit is great if you don't have aspirations of riding, but if you want to get good at the ridden bit too, well you'd better mount up!   I think that it's just all taken too far sometimes..
Hertha

Cokey wrote:

Quote:
but if you want to get good at the ridden bit too, well you'd better mount up!
 

That's for sure.  Also obviously if you have a program to build or maintain your horse's fitness under saddle carrying weight.

Otherwise, I don't think it matters a jot whether a person rides or not.  Being out there and spending time with horses and enjoying their company and maybe equisising is pretty special too.
PasoBaby_CarolU

This is a great thread and given me some ideas about different directions about what to do with my business.

Cokey, I think you may be right about MOST people, and definitely about most young people.  Groundwork is supposed to be a means to an end...riding safely.  

I do think though that some people have such deep set fear of riding that they really shouldn't ride...for their or their horse's safety.   A man I knew was SO afraid of riding that he was trembling at the thought of getting on his horse.   The man was so visibly scared, he got the horse trembling too.   The trainer forced the issue and the man got on and was immediately thrown off and injured seriously.  The man sold his horse and gave up on his dream of riding horses.  

He probably could have (should have) done groundwork forever if need be.
bit

I think that is what Parelli did to me, got me off my horse and on the ground.  The longer I was off, the longer I was off.  It took me a while to get back on.  I think it happens to a lot of people, from what I've seen.  I know a connection is important with your horse, and that takes some time.  I know that the ride is better and safer with the connection.  I think the ball is dropped when it comes to finding leadership in the saddle.
Leadership in the saddle was something I stumbled upon watching a Tom Dorrance dvd.  It doesn't automatically transfer to the saddle, it's different up there.  It's easy on the ground for me, but in the saddle I think a lot of people treat it like they are driving, and their minds aren't with their horses.  I'd like to see a lot more about leadership in the saddle.  I'm just speaking for myself, but it wasn't present once my boot hit the stirrup.  I knew something was missing, and so did my horses.  Me.
jackspark

bit wrote:
 I think the ball is dropped when it comes to finding leadership in the saddle.

A lot more focus needs to be placed on the transfer of leadership, on the ground, to the saddle.
cokey

bit wrote:

Leadership in the saddle was something I stumbled upon watching a Tom Dorrance dvd.  


Can I ask which one you were watching?  It's something that a lot of my students struggle with and I'd love to have some resources to help them.
bit

A Day With Tom Dorrance.  There was a segment about a ex barrel horse that was started badly and freaked out when he got into an arena.  It just seemed to click with me and I could see how the man riding was truly with this horse and helped him through his fear.  I tried the same pattern with my horse when she would get anxious out on the trail, and could really feel how it was the pattern that helped, sure.  But what was really helping her was the fact that I was present, moving each foot, and my MIND was truly present with her.  Anytime I find my mind wondering, I go into that pattern (just a barrel pattern without the barrels) and it gets me back where I need to be.  It's not just doing the pattern, it's how he explained what the human does while helping the horse.
bag lady

I can lend it to you cokey, if you like  
4theloveofjake

Depends which horse.............there are some you can hop on and go and then there are those who need a little tune up/attitude check  
Hertha

DeBit wrote

Quote:
Leadership in the saddle was something I stumbled upon watching a Tom Dorrance dvd.  It doesn't automatically transfer to the saddle, it's different up there.  It's easy on the ground for me, but in the saddle I think a lot of people treat it like they are driving, and their minds aren't with their horses.  I'd like to see a lot more about leadership in the saddle.  I'm just speaking for myself, but it wasn't present once my boot hit the stirrup.  I knew something was missing, and so did my horses.  Me.
_________________


This is really important and maybe, Deb, it is worth staring a new thread for it ?

I found this very very hard and am still wrestling with it.  I had become a leader of sorts on the ground but my manner changed when I mounted up.

Parelli does not seem to have addressed it.  If so, I've missed it.

I wonder if there is anyone out there who has delved into this issue at depth.  Would be great to know.  Maybe Hempfling's new book?  It is about to come out.
cokey

bag lady wrote:
I can lend it to you cokey, if you like  


Ooh!  Thanks!  I'll PM you my address. I'll obviously pay postage..
Chablis

One of my instructors asked me to ask answer a question one day (was at a 9 day course) - 'Are you playing on the ground because you want to ride, or are you playing on the ground because you want to improve your ground work?'

My response was, at the time, 'I want to ride'. His response was 'Well I've watched you play the games and they all checked out okay, you can safely get on your horse'. 'You don't need to overdo it - your horse is listening to you'.  

He then went on to show me, with his horse, how he prepares him to ride (and gets permission of course). Took very little time - he advised that if something didn't check out okay, he would work on that but if the horse did everything well, it was time to get on and ride.  

With that thought in mind, my riding preparation time (including saddling) each day of the course became shorter and shorter as I started better reading my horse.    I went from being the last to get on their horse to being the first on, most of the time.  

Hopefully I have explained that in a way that makes sense? No one had ever said that to me before... I would spend hours on the ground.  
Peeperpuppy

For me it depends on the horse.  If it were my first mare, Lady, I take her up & get on & go.  The old mare was a gem.  Write the check & take it to the bank, I could count on her no matter what.  I find that horse takes a lot of miles to know well enough.


My husband's mare Harley is a born mamma.  She mothers everyone including us.  She looks out for us like a giant equine-guard-dog  I fiddle with her.  I make no order of how I play the games.  I move her by the lightest pressure & find check-check-check.  Then I take her up.  I move her around a little more, mount & go.

My little gruella, Gunny.  I brush her off.  I tack her up & I put her in the round pen.  She NEEDS to take 2 rounds each direction to see if she's in the mood to hump up & buck.  Mind you she has NEVER done this with me or my husband on her.  But she gets a kink & those 4 rounds in the round pen unknink her  I wait for that moment with her when I look at her hindquarters & she's totally engaged, her ears are pricked forward, her eyes are bright & she's locked on me.  I back up & HERE she comes.  We're ready.  I also fool around with her because she bug-eyes about everything.  So I flop things around & make sure that she's not got big-eyed-snort-nosed dragon syndrome before I hop on.  So far so long as I have her in the round pen, I've never had trouble & I don't intend to start with miss big eyes!  

My Lippi mare, Mis, requires a little different tactics.  She's steady steady steady but she's got fire in her feet to GO.  So I make certain she's operating in her left brain & every meeting is exploratory.  

I've had other horses that I could fiddle with why I groomed or while I tacked up.  Others I could play with at liberty before I ever touched.  But one thing's for sure.  If I have a single question or doubt then we go through the games.  I also don't get in a hurry.  If I have to be in a hurry to saddle up & ride then I don't.  It's a rule.  Things get over looked when you're in a fizz to go...go... go!
Hertha

This seemed like a really good spot to put this piece from Daily Parellli: Heart and Desire.

"You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough."  

~Wm. Blake  (1757-1827)

Written over 200 years ago, this simple idea remains true.  If you're not familiar with William Blake, he was a poet, an artist, published amazing illustrated poems and he was generally considered during his life to be a madman for his idiosyncratic views.

What I love about this quote is Blake tells us that doing "more than enough," i.e. Doing Too Much, is the direct path to discovery of "Just Enough."  Taking the risk to be wrong by doing too much is the way to discover what's right.

How often do we do Too Little with our horsemanship and remain ineffective because we are afraid of briefly being wrong?  Take a risk today - the risk of Being Wrong - and notice what your horse tells you, and HOW he tells you, when you've done Too Little, Too Much or Just Enough.

Find that precise point with your horse where, like Pat Parelli says, you are "as gentle as you CAN be, but as firm as necessary," by testing how gentle and how firm is "More Than Enough."
4theloveofjake

Very good post Hertha ! I absolutely agree with that and got a feeling of understanding while reading it. I find that my horses tell me what they need and what is enough and the more I understand them the less they need. What they really need is me being present and completely in the moment with them. Funny what they have to say and how much they want to share when we learn to listen.
PasoBaby_CarolU

Excellent point Hertha.  If we always treat our horse like a green horse, it will always BB a green horse.
4theloveofjake

PasoBaby_CarolU wrote:
Excellent point Hertha.  If we always treat our horse like a green horse, it will always BB a green horse.



That's it Carol !!

Horses are so in tune to what we are thinking so it makes perfect sense. If we believe in them they can achieve greater harmony with us !      
ElaineW

I have to tell this story about Levi and myself..
Bit brought it to my attention in a PM..

When Levi first showed up we didn't know a thing about him, as you all know. NOT 1 THING!
As you know my background you know I was 'holding him at arms legnth'.
The old thought patterns running FREELY in my old noodle..
*HE COULD BE GREEN
*HE COULD BE A BUCKER
*HE COULD BE A KICKER/BITER/KILLER
*HE COULD BE LAME
*I DON'T KNOW IF I WILL KEEP HIM
*WHAT IF HE DON'T WORK OUT?
*WHAT IF HE EXPLODES?
*WHAT IF HE'S NEVER BEEN RIDEN?
And, on and on.
Bit had a good point.. She reminded me that Levi COULD FEEL the uncertain energy about him. Could feel that he was UNWANTED and not trusted!
Like Carol says, if you treat them green they will always act green!

As SOON AS I decided to keep Levi, I changed..
Therefor he changed.
Yesterday I worked with Levi a little bit.. after about 2 1/2 weeks off due to heat. Levi needed a quick session before I would have rode!

As Always,, Hertha has fantastic posts!
4theloveofjake

Your horse IS your mirror  thumbright
carefreegirl

my first horse could get on and go, he was the type of horse you could leave in a pasture for a year,and he would still be wonderful when you rode, except of course being out of shape and so needing to build up to riding harder. Bently the horse I have now I could not just get up and ride very often, on occasion I can, but like someone said even if you are just getting up and riding you are still reading the horse and feeling the horse long before you mount up to know whether or not you need to do something before you get on.  Bently is getting to the point though that more and more frequently I can just saddle up and go.  
Hertha

Carolyn Resnick said in her blog a while ago: something to the effect of:

"We need to always find that fine balance between losing respect by petting too much, losing willingness by pushing too much and losing interest by pausing too much."

I guess once we realise this and accept that it will always be that way, no matter how long we have a horse, we can be more aware of what we are doing.
PasoBaby_CarolU

You know, if you go into the Spirit Forum and read Blue's link to Dr. Deb's Plasma theory, and Blue's link (don't remember which thread) on the Aussie trainer keeping your mood happy, this all goes back to FOCUS and positive attitude and body language for our horse.   If we focus on all that can go wrong, it frequently does.   If we focus on our fears, our horse reads those as fear.   Our bodies don't lie.   If we focus on making positive progression, we move forward.

The little horse I had in here for retraining (I have since rehomed this horse) looked a LOT like Rosie, almost identical.   It was pretty easy when working with her to loose my mind and expect of her things I expected of Rosie...sidepassing, halfpassing, backing circles, stepping under, etc.   Many of these things she had never been asked to do before, but she did them here for the simple reason that my body and cues put her in a position for them.  Pasos are very sensitive and it didn't take her long to do whatever I did with my body.

In another example, we have a friend, now for many years, who would come to our clinics and playdays.   "Gally doesn't back."  In a few minutes we had him backing.   "Gally doesn't like arenas."  One playday in an arena and he liked them fine.  This went like this for several years.   By putting mental blocks where she encountered resistance, she stopped progressing.   Since WE didn't have those mental blocks (and the PNH program under our belts), Gally progressed fine and her 10-year-old daughter now rides him.

I find myself lieing to myself all the time, coming up with excuses NOT to do things that I know will be difficult.   I try not to, but it still happens.  I've done much better with a check list of all the things I NEED to do with a horse, and then working, checking it off.  So, I can't bypass one.
bit

I think that's why once we "get" groundwork, we just expect the next horse to do what the last one did.  It seems easier, because we know what to do, but I think partly it's easier because we just expect it to be.  Bit took a while to get through L 1, but once I got how to do the games, I could move a horse through L 1 pretty quickly.  Same with the waterhole rituals.  Once I got how to do them, it was pretty easy to get to liberty work in a short amount of time.  I just expected the horse to do what the last horse did, and he or she did.  My mind was already there, waiting for them.  It's like leading a horse with a lead rope, only it's your energy and mind that leads them there.  You can lead them someplace good, or you can lead them someplace bad.  That's why it's so important where YOUR mind is before you even think about hitting the pasture.  I've passed playing with the horses many times because I was not feeling well, or I was not in a good space.
4theloveofjake

Pasobaby said : The little horse I had in here for retraining (I have since rehomed this horse) looked a LOT like Rosie, almost identical.   It was pretty easy when working with her to loose my mind and expect of her things I expected of Rosie...sidepassing, halfpassing, backing circles, stepping under, etc.   Many of these things she had never been asked to do before, but she did them here for the simple reason that my body and cues put her in a position for them.  Pasos are very sensitive and it didn't take her long to do whatever I did with my body.


This is what I do with Jake too ! Willow is chestnut and the same height as Jake who is chestnut. I know I'm not riding her but when I look down and see the chestnut mane and neck I sometimes feel like I'm riding Willow which makes me more relaxed and easier for him to follow my feel. Funny how the mind works !
alexwein

Ha! Say what you want.  I am training my very green young horse and definitely will do ground work with her to begin each session until I'm comfortable SHE's comfortable enough with being ridden to not need it. I got lazy yesterday and did NOT do that, and she was a real sh#t.  Any rebellious energy she has going (at her age, a definite possibility) needs to be worked out first, otherwise, it's not that she's dangerous.  She has yet to buck or rear or anything too squirrely.  But the quality of the ride and the training session suffers.  I spent most of my time yesterday trying to get her mind with me.  Much harder to do when she's trying to learn a bunch of new things, having a saddle and rider on her back, trying to learn all these new cues, etc.

I want to get her mind with me first.  Then I can climb on and we can do some good stuff.  I get her mind with me first on the ground!  Works much better. My rides with her EVERY time I've started with a bit of ground work to tune her up and get her with me have been excellent, productive, and very fun.  

So like I say, say what you want.  I think doing a bit of groundwork is not only safer, it makes for a much more productive ride.  I guess it depends on what your goal is.  To me, it's very simple.  I want her with me, mentally with me.  Once I have her with me, we are good to go.

I also had the thought today that's it's the polite thing to do for the horse.  To give the horse a chance to let YOU know how he/she is feeling today before you hop on and start asking for things.  I've been imagining all the things my young girl is being asked to learn in a very short period of time.  Why not give her a bit of time to smooth out her mind a bit, have a bit of time to align herself with me.

I'm sure there will be a time when I do NOT need to worry about such things, and I can hop on her and we can be off to do whatever we are going to do. But as long as I DO need to do it, I will give it the time she needs to get focused on ME and what we are doing.
Hertha

PasoCarol wrote:
Quote:
It was pretty easy when working with her to loose my mind and expect of her things I expected of Rosie...sidepassing, halfpassing, backing circles, stepping under, etc.   Many of these things she had never been asked to do before, but she did them here for the simple reason that my body and cues put her in a position for them.


Well, I find this happening with me and Boots is a chestnut QH and Smoky is a gray part Andalusian          

The funny thing is, Smoky does whatever I ask just like you guys mentioned with your different horses.

When I try to explain a move to Bridget, I often show her first with Smoky, and usually after 2 or 3 asks, he's doing it.  The human partner (sigh) is just not as quick      
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