Good Ground Manners The Essentials Of Horse Training}

Submitted by: Phil Tragear

Horse training success is all in the work from the ground. A good, long-term relationship between you and your horse is built from the ground up, literally. Ground manners is about teaching your horse how to behave around humans and that you are his protector and friend. The two go hand in hand by building leadership respect and trust. The time dedicated to building a proper foundation by establishing control on the ground is well worth the effort involved.

Why would you want to bother with ground manners? Well, safety issues are a good start. An untrained or poorly trained horse with bad habits such as biting, kicking, rearing and charging (among others) is dangerous. A horse can kill a person with these behaviours. The horse can injure himself, for example, by rearing and banging his head on a low ceiling. Horses do knock themselves out, cut their heads on a nail or sharp corner and require stitches. Just think of the vet bills. And the panic you’d feel in this situation. Or think of the litigation if your horse kicked someone, injuring them so they were unable to work. These things do happen. Teaching a horse good ground manners is teaching a horse that these are unacceptable and unnecessary reactions.


The horse that won’t stand still is a danger. One day you’ll be caught in the wrong spot, he’ll get a fright and someone will be hurt. The horse that keeps leaning into you and treading on your (soon to be broken) foot is not fun. The horse that tries to kick when you pick out his feet is going to injure you one day. Good ground manners is about teaching a horse to respect your personal space.

The nervous or disobedient horse is also a danger. The jumpy horse that shies and knocks you over is a liability. The horse that loses his mind and tries to run every time he sees a plastic bag is more than a nuisance. Ground manners is about showing your horse that scary things aren’t so scary and to have confidence in you. To trust that you, as leader and protector, will always keep him safe.

Good manners on the ground makes the transition to riding much smoother and much much simpler. You will have learned to read your horses feelings or mood. He is not your servant. He is your partner. He will have learned unquestioned obedience. As a result, your riding sessions will be more fun.

Taking the time to lay firm foundations will also mean that you will be training a horse that is willing to please, that is EASIER TO TRAIN IN THE LONG RUN, that is a joy to work with and not an obstinate animal that is always acting out. When you choose to own a horse, you’re making a commitment for many years, so you want to be sure you’re going to have a well-behaved and easy to handle horse-friend.

About the Author: Phil is author of the comprehensive book ‘Horse Training Success’, full of answers to the most asked horse training questions. Please feel free to use this article on condition that you maintain a live link to the

website, acknowledge that the content is Phil Tragear 2006, and keep this paragraph included!


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