Sunday, February 26, 2012

the ground work starts to pay off

On Thursday, before I rode, I went through all of the groundwork lessons that Maddy had taught me earlier in the week. I tacked Lu up with her saddle but left the rope halter on instead of putting on her bridle, and we did a bit of lunging/space awareness work (my own term, not something I found on the internet) and I hoped that would set the tone for the whole ride.

Lucy was so quiet under saddle that I could not believe it! When we were warming up, I was up in my halfseat letting her canter along and it was the closest to a "relaxed hunter stride" I think we've ever had. She was rating herself with just the occasional half-halt on the outside rein from me (usually around the corner). Was she just in a good mood, or did she really learn something from the work on the ground? I don't know, but I wasn't arguing! Here are some videos:

Thanks to my friend Nicole for videotaping!


  1. I think that some of those ground work exercises you were doing were fundamentally about getting you horse to listen to subtle cues (rather than just lunging to burn off extra energy). I found that when I worked my horse on the lunge or in the round pen and she spent the entire time looking outside the ring, not paying attention to how she's moving and certainly not paying attention to me...that's pretty much how the ride went.

    The exercises you were doing with Lucy are great. You are getting her to watch you for input and essentially getting her to watch for half-halt cues from the ground. It also warms you up and makes you think in advance about what you are asking you horse (have I been clear? did I ask her for something when she was in a position to succeed?). Doing those exercises (right) isn't easy- well done:)

  2. You too look great. I love doing gymnastic courses with my mare, really helps a lot.

  3. That's so great that it's translating into your rides :) Smart Lucy girl!

  4. That's great! Ground work has really helped Barley and I too...instead of tuning me out, he's much more attentive and always seems to be ready for whatever is next.

  5. Gee, she looks like she's listening to you! Good job, Kate.


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