The Young Horse: Ground Manners

Pam Hunter
by Pam Hunter
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You have halter trained your horse or foal, but every time you turn your back it tries to bite you or it steps on you when you are leading it. Now what?

Every equine that is handled by humans must learn ground manners. Ground manners is training that keeps the horse or pony from biting, kicking, charging, stepping on you or leaning on you. This includes letting your horse rub it's head on you when haltering or bridling. Ground manners enables your horse and you to have a better relationship. It won't move around when you saddle, brush, pick it's feet or do other chores that require you to handle your horse.

Horse Looking Over Fence

Your horse has probably learned a few lessons from when you halter broke it. If you haven't done that first step, you should go back and read the first article in this series - Halter Breaking. Following are lessons in Ground Manners, all problems are organized the same way: the problem is stated, a description follows, solutions are offered.

Things you need:

  • Halter
  • Lead Rope
  • 8 - 10 foot soft cotton rope
  • Lounge line or Long line
  • Lounging whip or dressage whip
  • Saddle blanket or pad
  • Small cloth
  • Fence post in an enclosed area

The Horse is Afraid of Everything That Touches it

A horse that shys at every touch is dangerous and unpredictable. Horses are prey animals, so it is normal for them to be afraid of new and unusual objects, fast movement, and people or other things that come up behind them. What you want to do is expose your horse to many different situations so it has a wider experience base to draw on. Horses have incredible memories. They remember good and bad. You want to convince the horse that some things that seem bad are really neither good or bad, but neutral and not to be feared. In this lesson you will sack the horse out with various objects in order to overcome it's fear.

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