Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pony Club Ground Work: Soft and Softer!

This morning our barn had a U.S. Pony Club meeting and we worked on some ground-work things. I'm such an advocate of polite ground manners for horses, as a pleasancy thing and as an investment in their future (because who wants to buy or deal with a rude pushy horse in this horse market?). Eight lovely horse and PC member partners worked hard on getting soft and obedient in a clear communication context.

So often we see really awful horse handling --dragging a horse around by its face, hollering and cursing, or the horse dragging the handler around the show grounds in a sweat-fright. I loooove working on softer and more trusting/trustworthy ways. That was our job today:

We had a good time and from the youngest among us to the oldest, had some real progress toward soft, trust-based leadership:

Of course all the galoots in the pasture who were not being included had to come and observe:

And a good time was had by all. I hope!!


Chris said...

I just love ground work and how much it can help for in saddle stuff! Ground work with my boy has really helped with our lateral work and it's very handy for other horses and improving manners, agreed!

Love your pic of all the curious onlookers :D

Flying Lily said...

Chris, thanks for stopping by! Yes the ground work really pays bug dividends IME. The guys in the gate area are so funny - they really wanted to be involved. :)

jesterjigger said...

Awww, I looked through the rest of your blog and it looks like the groundwork audience wasn't a first time thing! I too love groundwork. Comes from my western days I think, I've been teaching Sophie showmanship since she has a habit of walking into me when looking at something to the right. She cranes her head around to the right and her shoulder moves left, taking her left forefoot with it and against my ankle.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

hehehe-the "watchers"...Think they learned anything? Horses are so snoopy-LOL.
But I am so with you on the good ground manners. Can't beat a horse that is nice to be around on the ground-because in reality, most everyone spends a lot more time handling a horse from the ground than they do horseback.

Flying Lily said...

JesterJ: Yes this casual walking-over is a habit my Johnnie can into as well. I need to be more consistent with him and spend more time. And yes the "Peanut Gallery" of looky loo horses is encountered regularly in my life!!

BECG: Indeed, you are absolutely right about time with ground manners versus ride time. I had not realized that before, but it is about 3:1 ground vs saddle for me on average. Gives me even more interest in politeness training! A delightful mannered horse is worth his weight in gold.

photogchic said...

Looks like a great time.