How To Ground Drive Your Horse

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1 How To Ground Drive Your Horse Like I have stated earlier, all the horses that come to me here at Triple R Horse Training are started in this very same way. Of course if they are already broke to the saddle things move quicker but I still need to find and fill in any holes there are in the horses prior training. For me Ground Driving is as important as any of the previous steps. The most important being MY safety. A horse will know what I am asking of him once I throw a leg over them because I have done my homework, started my foundation with the ground work. By teaching your horse to drive you are teaching him the things he needs to know from the saddle. By driving them from the ground they will know EXCATLY how the reins will feel when I ask for a right or left turn, a Whoa and a back up. There will be NO surprises when I go to get on him other than my weight. If the colt gets into a fright and flight mind set he will know what Whoa means plus I will be able to get his head turned around to slow him down. The bottom line is Horses are big and the ground is hard. Anything I can do to even up the odds of me not hitting the ground I am going to do. There is NO shame in that! I have attended the school of hard knocks and have had my share of injuries over my career, some mild while others quiet sever. Ground driving gives me this control. While there are others that do not ground drive their horses. They get along with them fine and turn out wonderful horses, my son Dallas being one of them.

2 I err on the side of safety as I do not heal as quickly as I used to! As I would rather be in the saddle than on the couch! Something we tend to forget is that your horse is learning where to put their feet again and just what you are asking of them. By driving them they get a lot of this out of the way before you get on them. You can see the reasoning here: When you go to throw a leg over them for the first time you want control over their head and feet. Your horse will learn this by you ground driving him. This is not a place to cut ANY corners! The time spent driving your horse will pay off in the long run with less work from the saddle as you have more leverage from the ground, your horse will not be as frightened when you start to pull him around to learn to turn right and left. Once again the safety issue. of. If you take the time to take the fear away, they will have less to be frightened The safety issue here is that if they are going to buck better with you already on the ground than you winding up there. The only lesson your horse learns is that he can buck and get you off of him He wins You will have more control over your horse as your horse will have a better understanding of what you are asking of him. Thus he will not be as frightened and a more willing partner to you. This is time well spent as you teach him how to turn figure 8 s, turn to the fence, what the word Whoa really means and how to back up.

3 He has to learn where to put his feet when YOU ask him to. He is learning how to move his body and mind all over again. Your horse can only improve from here. Equipment Needed: 1. Halter and lead rope 2. Snaffle bit Bridle with a bit guard on the bit, no reins 3. Saddle and pad 4. 4 ½ ft. of ¼ inch nylon cord ft. set of cotton driving lines (or 2 cotton lunge lines)

4 All that is needed is ¼ in. nylon cord found at any hardware store and a set of cotton driving lines or two of the same lunge lines. You will not want to use leather or flat nylon lines here, round cotton works the best for teaching your horse to ground drive. You will need your halter on your horse as well as the bridle, go ahead and saddle your horse. Also you will need a good pair of 20 foot cotton driving lines. I prefer cotton as they are easier to handle, they have a body to them and they won t burn your hands or your horse as easily. Take your horse to the pen and lunge him, get the fresh off of him by lunging. Work your horse in both directions and get him ready to learn. Focused back on you. You cannot teach a fresh horse anything, at this point your horse is used to work so get him limber and warmed up first.

5 Plus you are adding something new again and you want the focus on YOU! Attach your cord to the off side stirrup first, then toss the cord under your horses belly to the other side. Do not tie the stirrups tight to the belly as you want some play in them. Take your horse back to the post you had him tied to when you first saddled him, giving him enough lead rope to move, don t tie him up short as this may cause him to panic. Take the 4 ½ foot piece of rope and tie it to the right stirrup, toss it under your horses belly on the ground. Remember to talk to your horse, go to the left side of your horse and tie the rope to the left stirrup.

6 You will want this short enough the stirrups won t raise straight out when you pull on the driving lines, but lose enough to have movement. This is about how much movement you will first need in your stirrups when you first start ground driving. By Hobbling your stirrups it gives you the leverage you will need to get your horse doing what you are asking of him. After your horse is comfortable with all of this you will do the same without the stirrup hobbles. Your horse will once again see things in a different light when he sees the stirrups rise up and out.

7 You will have less leverage like this; start this ONLY after your horse is responding to the hobbled stirrups! Go back to the right side and run the snap of the driving line through the back of the stirrup to the ring on the bit and snap it on, coil the length of the line up and hook it over your saddle horn to the left side. Start on the off side and run your line through the stirrup. Then you snap the line on to the ring of the bit.

8 This is what it will look like on both sides. For the Off side, take you line and put it on your saddle horn, hanging off the left side. You will go to the left side and do the same with the other line only you will hold this line; you will be standing at his shoulder at this point. By bringing the lines through the stirrups you are positioning the lines below their hips. This will help in teaching your horse how to break at the poll, give to the bit and his head set. He will start to learn to give you his face here. You will already have the left line in your hand; you will reach up and grab the right line that is over the horn from the left side.

9 Your horse is going to move back and forth or may act up at this point, this is to be expected. Keep you voice and body calm as he is looking to you for reassurance if you are nervous he will be also! Here I have both lines in my hands on the left side. My horse is still tied to the post and I am watching the head, eyes and ears to see how excited my horse is getting.

10 See her ears and the stance of her back legs? She is a bit concerned on what I have in store for her next. Read your horse! I cannot say this enough times! Move to the back of you horse taking care to watch his hind feet as he may kick out at the lines. At this point you are going to get your horse use to the lines movements, up and over his back end and over the saddle and your horses hips. Throw the line on to his hind quarters using the line on the right side then the line on the left; you will do this as he is STILL tied up. Remember he will be afraid it is your job to teach him not to be afraid. Never assume your horse will not act up! Do this SEVERAL times!

11 On the rump and the saddle both! Let them feel it on their legs from the fetlock to the hock. After he accepts the lines and is somewhat comfortable with the movement of you and the lines, walk up to his shoulder praise him, then unsnap your lead rope. At this point you have taught him some voice commands from the prior lessons so you will ask him to walk out. If for some reason you horse will not move out you may need to kiss him up (smooch), put more energy in your movements or even kick up some dirt to get forward motion. Make sure to do the other side in the same manner. You can see from her ears she is a little concerned on what I am doing back there. Your horse can and will move around as you are doing this.

12 This all good as you DO NOT have them tied so tight they cannot move and feel bound up, or panic will set in. Just be sure to watch out that you are far enough away if your horse goes to kick the lines you are out of the danger zone or that your horse does not come in on you. The first 5-to-10 minutes allow your horse to go about as it pleases. But you must control the direction of the feet! This may start out at a fast gallop; this is fine as you will position yourself in the center of the pen holding to both lines. If he gets to frightened or tangled you can DROP the OUTSIDE line (the one next to the fence) let him continue as he is. After a short while you will tell him to Whoa, walk up to your horse, rub and calm him, reach for the dropped line and ask him to walk out again. He will soon learn that there is really nothing to be frightened of by your body stance and the use of your voice to sooth him. You will reinforce your voice commands, use the words, walk, Easy, Whoa and ask for the back up. He will not take your horse long to figure out just what you are asking him to do.

13 When you say Walk out or Whoa he will learn the true meaning of these commands. The greatest mistake that most trainers make when starting a colt is they are trying to teach the horse too many things at once. Keep your plan simple and consistent. Your horse will learn more in one hour per day if you are consistent with the training, than it will in six hours or any longer. Make the lesson short and teach but one thing at a time. But make sure that what you do teach is thoroughly understood. Once you have gotten this far with your horse you can start to teach him to turn right and left. You want to work your horse in figure 8 s; you also will need to turn your horse towards the fence. This is where you get your horse using his rear end for movement. Work on your horses stopping and always ask him to back up after you stop him. Ask him to stand still, tell him Whoa till you are ready for forward motion. Your horse moves his feet when YOU tell them too. This is a learned thing.

14 This should ONLY be done in a small square pen or a round pen. You will pull one line for the direction you want to go; you GIVE with the other line! As you can see she is a little boogery (Texas talk for Upset ) here but I am in control of her head and her feet. I control the direction of movement!

15 You will pull with one line and GIVE with the other! Do not send mixed signals to your horse! You can see here her head is high and she is a little confused. This is to be expected! Talk to your horse, reassure them all is well. Use Easy, Be Gentle as you turn your horse both to the right and to the left along with figure 8 s.

16 Here again, this cannot be said enough! Pull with one line, GIVE with the other! Forward movement and controlled direction. Use the verbal command of Walk out or Get Up.

17 I see many horses that do not know how to stand still for the simple reason they have not been taught to. This is a very important step here. When you pull back to ask him to Whoa and he stops Then you RELEASE the pulling back of the lines. While ground driving your horse you will be reinforcing EVERYTHING you have been teaching to this point. Ask your horse to Whoa, to stand still as this too has to be taught. Your horse will need to learn patience and that you are in control of his movement.

18 If your horse starts to walk out, repeat and Whoa him again. If he starts to step forward again just repeat till he understands the connection between the pulling on the bit and your voice command. Your horse will not understand how to keep their feet still. It is up to you to read your horse and keep their attention on you. If they want to turn one way or another you will need to straighten the up again. You will soon have your horse responding to your voice commands and line (rein) pressure.

19 After he is calm and responsive you will be able to drive him anywhere in the pen you would like to. You will soon be able to take off the stirrup hobbles as they need to see that the stirrups and go out farther and you can still have control. When you ask for a Whoa make sure to have as even of lines as you can. Your horse will actually run into the bit. This is where they will learn to be soft in the face and how to break at the poll. A week to 10 days of this will save you in the long run from some major battles once you get on his back. When you drive your horse it teaches them the use of the bit before you get on them the first time and reinforces your verbal commands. By now your horse will accept the saddle, bridle and all the trappings that go with his first ride.

20 As well as he will be responding to the bit, by giving you his face (giving to the bit and tucking his head) turning right and left at your commands not his. Whoa when you ask it of him, to back up. if only a few steps. Your horse will have learned also how to stand still, till YOU ask for the movement. Not at their time, YOURS only! Congratulate yourself and your horse, on a job well done. You and your horse are both well on the road to having a reliable horse that is truly a pleasure to ride. ********

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