Have you ever heard a rider say that they don’t do groundwork with their horse because it doesn’t matter or because it’s boring? Both statements are untrue. Here are six reasons why you should absolutely do groundwork with your horse.
Improve Your Bond With Your Horse
Groundwork is a surefire way to improve the bond that you share with your horse. Performing groundwork means that you and your horse can work through and overcome challenges together. It also forces you to slow down and refine your signals for improved communication with your horse.
Learn to Read Your Horse’s Body Language
When you do groundwork, you will quickly learn to read the nuances of your horse’s body language. Groundwork involves learning to control the movement and motion of your horse’s body, and the more that you practice, the better you will be able to read your horse’s body language.
Teach Your Horse to Better Understand You
Groundwork also gives your horse a chance to focus on your visual cues. Rather than receiving information from your weight, balance, and pressure while in the saddle, groundwork gives your horse a chance to truly focus on understanding you and what you are asking of him.
Gain Your Horse’s Respect
Through groundwork sessions, you can gain your horse’s respect. When you do groundwork with your horse, you are using your body language and physical presence to gain your horse’s respect. When your horse moves in response to the pressure that you put on him, he is indicating that he understands and respects you. This respect can transfer over to times when you are in the saddle.
Establish Better Control Over Your Horse’s Movement
As you do groundwork with your horse, you will establish better control over your horse’s movement. This control can make riding your horse easier, as you can transfer what your horse has learned with you on the ground. Groundwork can help facilitate training, both unmounted and mounted.
Improve the Trust Between You and Your Horse
Groundwork can be a powerful way to develop and improve the trust that you and your horse share. As you do groundwork, you can observe your horse’s reactions to a variety of stimuli in different situations. At the same time, your horse learns that while you ask him to move his body in different ways, you apply and remove pressure kindly without ever actually threatening his safety.
Groundwork is a powerful tool with many benefits for both you and your horse. If you’re not already doing groundwork with your horse, you might want to start.