Ground Work for Beginners

Ground work is a very important staple in every horse and rider relationship. Handling a 1500 lb animal that is dominant or doesn’t respect you can be scary! We have created the steps of our program to take that fear away and to be able to enjoy your horse on the ground in any situation.

It doesn’t matter if your looking for ground work for beginners or have won the world, step one is where we all need to start! Without step one, you won’t succeed with step two or step 3-4-5. It is like building a house, you cannot start painting the walls until you have poured your foundation. Luckily for us there are industry home building standards required to keep everyone safe, that’s what the horse world needs! We need a checklist that once completed, you know you are safe. That is exactly why the Training Thru Trust progressive training program was designed! To help people practice and master the steps needed from the ground up. Starting with the simplest of exercises for the greenest rider or horse. We start all of our horses in the round pen and feel it is very important for beginners especially. It gives you the chance to apply the steps required to communicate with your horse from a safe distance. You get to see how much you can control the horses direction, speed and even thoughts with little pressure. When we are finished in the round pen we will be able to do all this without even touching them! The first thing every horse owner needs to learn is how to send your horse away from you and be able to move their feet in any direction. After we accomplish this, we make sure we can get all steps without our horse showing us dominance and/or attitude. Seems simple right ?! However its not what you do, it’s how you do it that makes a big change in your horse. When you release, when you restart and how long you push them is what really achieves the results. These are things many riders struggle to communicate clearly, but once achieved will completely change your relationship with every horse!

Learning to communicate with your horse is like a dance, we have to speak to them with our body. Since our body is how we communicate, this means we also have to learn to control our energy and emotions. This will provide a way to communicate with our horse that is clear and easy to read.The most important step in every exercise is to do it until your horse accepts you as the leader. The “back up” is the one of the most effective tools to have on the ground, as well as easy to do! First thing you need to know before you start is what your end goal is. You don’t have to achieve this change in your horse in your first session, however when you have mastered the exercise your horse will do the following.

  • back up with their nose soft in your hand
  • no pushing/pulling/bobbing in any way
  • leave their nose in for 3 seconds after the command has ended
  • stay standing where you left them and do not step forward into your hand
  • if you go faster, they go faster. When you stop they stop

Our end goal is to be able to accomplish these things in each one of our exercises. This way we are utilizing them to their full advantage and will get the most out of our horse. More importantly you will be seen as the “herd leader”! If you don’t accomplish this level of acceptance in every exercise you will still get results! As you get better with your communications skills, your results will improve drastically. Learning to communicate clearly with our horses is a lifelong lesson we never stop trying to improve! We can always improve our feel, timing and being able to read our horse. Our goal is to build our pressure slow and steady and release in time with the horses brain, not the body. When your release can be in time with their brain your results will be that of a professional, the best part is you don’t need to be a professional to achieve this! These are the first things the young kids in our lesson programs learn that don’t even own a horse! They have mastered this simply because they have a step by step program to follow. You don’t need years of experience, you just need the right information and exercises that will allow you practice your communication skills. The best part is that while we are working on our communication, we are also establishing leadership with our horse.

We always say they don’t need to learn to speak English, but we owe it to them to learn to speak horse.


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