At the horse show last Saturday, I decided that I would start focusing on Rose's ground work again. She has good ground manners for a five year old warmblood, but due to being pregnant and having a giant belly her ground work training kind of took a back seat and plateaued. After all, it is "good enough", just not as good as my high standard would like. After hanging out around a bunch of quarter horses all day Saturday, it occurred to me that we hadn't focused on improving ground work for a while and I decided now that she is older and more focused it is time to ramp up my ground work expectations for her. I am striving for something that resembles the ground work of a twenty year old quarter horse. Yes, I realize I have high expectations. But I think completely dead quiet ground work is an important and handy thing to have in a horse. Given how easy she is to train it really shouldn't take long to see some significant improvement. All I need is a little direction on how exactly to do it. With a little help from youtube I came across this video by HorseCity.
Rose does have a habit of "creeping" when I'm holding her, so this video is rather applicable to our needs. Also, it seemed like a pretty simple, straight forward, logical, and humane method so I decided to try it out tonight. First we did a little bit of the routine outside the barn in the driveway right after I pulled Rose from her pasture. She figured out what I was asking right away, which I was pleased about. I can't say that I've ever asked her to move her hip away from me with the rein/lead rope as he showed in the video, so it was nice to see that she knew what I was asking for. Once we were in the arena we did more ground work before I rode her. She got the idea very quickly and was licking her lips, quite pleased with herself for figuring out what she was supposed to do...or rather not do (move). After our ride we worked on it some more. I decided to see if this also helped with her ground tying, and sure enough she stood as still as a statue for quite some time while I walked all around her, fiddled with her tack, and picked up her feet, etc. One thing I noticed is that she backs slowly when asked. I need to work with her on this. Although she does back, I'd like her to back quickly without resistance at all. So, I think we will add backing from light pressure to our list of ground work fine tuning to-do list.
She is just so smart and easy to train, I love that about her. I'm looking forward to keeping working on ground work with her, as I think she definitely has it in her to be completely dead quite like a twenty year old quarter horse. It's all just a matter of consistency and repetition on my part.
Happy trails and swooshing tails!