Ground Work for the Dominant Horse

I started out with trying to work with Stu on the lunge, but I realized that he just really needs the ground work element to build upon. I’m moving forward on heavy ground workout for Stu, so I went to YouTube for some ideas. I’ve done groundwork before, but it was so long ago, back when I was a teenager. Berry came to me with racehorse training and had great manners on the ground, and Pony has always been respectful, almost intuitively (or maybe because I wanted to shut down his studly behavior before he was gelded). Vintage was the one I worked with extensively, and it’s been so long, I barely remember any of it. 

I’ve found a lot of useful videos, and I’ve always found some strange ones. With YouTube being an open platform, anyone can throw up their two cents, regardless of the usefulness. That’s not to say there isn’t useful content – there is, and I really appreciate the people who put up their helpful videos. Even if I don’t fully agree with everything, sometimes there’s useful gems to take away.

Completely unrelated to all of that, I found Clinton Anderson’s Down Under Horsemanship videos, and wow. WOW. Not talking at all about the training, but the production of the video. Feels like I’m watching I Shouldn’t Be Alive, with the pumped up drama, voiceovers, and heavy rock music. It’s got entertainment value. Also reminds me of The Dog Whisperer, and therefore, one of my favorite South Park episodes: 

But that has nothing to do with horses. Unless by some miracle, South Park makes their own version of Clinton Anderson. I would 100% watch that. 

But moving along, I wanted to share the videos I felt were most useful, in case anyone is going through something similar, or feels their horse might be headed in a dominant direction. It sort of happens without noticing, which is why I’m now realizing how important ground work is. It keeps the relationship in your favor, but still respects the horse. 

I liked these videos for a few reasons – they showed the behavior, how to correct it, and I could understand what was going on.

I don’t want to criticize, but some of the videos on YouTube have such poor production value that I cannot hear what the trainer is saying. I’m sure it was made with the best of intentions and does have valuable information, but I couldn’t understand it enough to be able to determine. If the trainer wasn’t legible, I did not include it as a useful video.

Manners

On a most basic level, we need our horses to be polite. I like this video because it makes it clear what we should expect from a horse, and what seemingly mild behavior is not acceptable. 

Work for Respect

I like this video because it gives very specific exercises to work on with your horse. The basic idea is if the horse will move its feet for you, it respects you. If it doesn’t, well, you need to be the dominant one! 

Groundwork Basics

Warwick Schiller is highly recommended online. I like this video as an example of what the goal is. There isn’t any “troubleshooting” in the video though, so it doesn’t really explain how to train the horse to do these things. 

I’m planning to take a closer look at his videos. There are some really interesting topics such as “How to Avoid Freak Accidents with Horses.” I’ve never had a freak accident, and I don’t plan to, but I would like to avoid one happening in the future! 

I have been working with Stu, but I’m also going to work with Berry on these concepts. She’s technically a “trained” horse, but I think the practice would help me develop my feel. I also realized Berry has become really herdbound in the time she’s been off, and I’d like to get over that. 

Hopefully some progress to report soon!

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