Shimmering Princess - Advancing Education on the Ground [Slideshow]
After her start under saddle in November 2014, Princess spent 5 months in the field with her friends. She finished growing both physically and mentally. Now she is back to school. She is learning everything necessary to have a good basic foundation as a riding horse.
Groundwork at this stage has three main purposes for me:
- to give the horse time to express herself and to avoid unnecessary arguments in the saddle
- get the horse to show and connected
- to show new things on the ground first so that they are easier in the saddle
I am playing with her a lot at Liberty, to get her interested and connected to me.
She is learning to keep up her part in our relationship:
- maintain the gait
- maintain the direction
- act like a partner not like a prey animal
Click through the pictures to find out how I used Play at Liberty to win Princess’s interest and connection.
Saddling has become a non-event. Still, I am particular every single time as if it was her first time. It takes a while until things are automatic and solid in a horse.
Starting our Liberty session. How well can she accept the extreme Friendly game?
Yielding to steady pressure on the nose. A big part of success with young horses is to get them to thoroughly understand to yield to any pressure. This is our communication tool number 1 when riding.
She can now back up on very subtle cues. Princess learnt to pay close attention to my body language. What will I ask her next?
One of my main goals is a horse that learnt to love his or her work and new life. Wouldn’t you do your job a lot better if you liked it? How can you help your horse to fall in love with his “job” as a riding horse?
Princess learnt to keep gait and rhythm on the ground. This helps me a lot when riding because the concept is nothing new to her.
When asking her to canter, I pay close attention that she picks the correct lead. I want her to start thinking about what lead she picks. This will help her to be more successful with choosing canter leads while riding.
She loves the Stick to Me game! Princess learnt to stay mentally focused and connected - and enjoy it.
“Princess watch out, I might have a little surprise for you!”
Here it is: How quickly can she react when I ask for backwards out of the blue? Look how closely she watches my body language. Once a horse knows the basics, it is important to mix things up. Get creative if you want to keep their attention and interest.
Well done, Princess!
The Liberty session is over for today, she is calm, responsive and connected. Ready to ride!
The Purpose of Groundwork
Playing with horses on the ground or at liberty is a way for me to help the horse to be calm, connected and responsive before riding. I can allow the horse to express him/herself in case he/she is anxious or exuberant and introduce new things. Most importantly I can get the interest and connexion of the horse much easier.
Read more about Shimmering Princess