Feet-first horsemanship ground work
March 2, 2017
The winter of 2017 has given me a whole new respect and appreciation for GROUND WORK!!!! The majority of our barn yard is covered with large snow drifts and 1/2 of our outdoor arena is flooded with 2-3 foot drifts. I am sure many of you can relate!
As a result, I have found my self spending a lot of time, in the shallow snow in one corner of the arena; perfecting ground work exercises that I have learned from my Dad, Tom Wagoner. Fortunately, all of these exercises can be done in a 12-20′ circle. The diagram below will illustrate a few basic exercises.
There are a few things I always focus on, no matter what maneuver I am trying to accomplish. Ask yourself these questions.
#1. Is my horse using his inside eye? I always want my horse to use the right eye, if I am on the right side and the left eye if I am on the left side.
#2. Will my horse allow me to place his feet and moving in time with me? Or is he just going through the motions and not being thoughtful to my cues.
#3. Will my horse listen to my body language when cued to transition up or down?
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Ground work can not take the place of conditioning, but it can be part of a great warm up and it can also help keep your horses sharp while trying to prepare for an event. In my next blog I will share a few demonstrations.
Until next time, enjoy your ride!