Riding Free Blog: Saddle Up!

No Skipping the Groundwork!

April 16, 2021

Horse Activities

I threw Abby and Beau up on a horse before they could have a conversation.  It was all about how to stop, how to go and how to “control” your horse – I say that in quotes because I’m not sure control is the right word, we had a few scary moments where control went out the window.  Which brings me to ground work.

Ground work?  Ya right.  That never crossed my mind.  Sure, I wanted them to be safe but that included walking a safe distance between the horse and not charging at them with fake swords and toy rifles.

It’s not until LITERALLY THIS WEEK after seeing a post from one of our faves, Mary Heffernan of Five Mary’s Farms, that I thought…hmmm, maybe I need to have them hop off and work with their horse on the ground.  Mary Heffernan sent her daughter to a horsemanship clinic and it really got me motivated to work on my own skills and give my kids groundwork tools they can practice daily.

So…thank you Clinton Anderson for your accent…and horsemanship videos on youtube.  Watching a few of his videos gave us a couple tangible things to practice.  

Don’t like aussie accents (who are you!!! haha)?  There are a TON of horsemanship videos specific to ground work that are completely repeatable for your child.  Another favorite is from LoneStarWoman80 that you can find here and they are all more than appropriate for your child to watch on YouTube.  The resources are endless, just don’t get distracted and end up watching funny cat videos.

One thing I had Abby do right away is just take her horse Bandit on a walk.  Paying attention to how he is responding to her lead.  Then she went in the arena and worked with the stick to build up to lunging on her own and moving him off touch and rhythmic pressure.  Horses can also tend to be pushy with kids, so we worked with her on backing him up to give her space using touch on his nose which also builds tremendous respect.

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