Learn the basics of groundwork. You will learn the importance of your position and presentation when handling your horse from the ground. Margaret will teach you 4 basic exercises to use to help you and your
horse develop a better understanding of effective communication. Groundwork helps make handling your horse in new and/or difficult situations much safer.
Afternoon Driving or Riding session: 1:00-3:30
Learn effective communication from the box or mounted. You will learn how to prepare your horse correctly for transitions and changes of direction. Margaret will teach you exercises to use to help soften and supple your horse in harness. Developing a language both you and your horse can understand will make your driving experiences much safer and much more fun. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Maximum # of participants is 6 horses per session, no limit on auditors. Cost to participate with your horse, $75 for the day, or $40 for one session, 1/2 down upon registration. Audit fee $10. To register contact Margaret at 845-518-9376 or email@example.com
Learning to keep a specific distance from the horse in front of you is important in drill team (and useful in many other riding situations!).
Closed position is keeping about 3 feet in between horses. Rule of thumb is you look through your horses ears at the base of the horse’s tail in front of you:
Open position is about a horse length and a half between horses. Rule of thumb is to look between your horse’s ears at the hind pasterns of the horse in front of you:
Looking between your horse’s ears this way and linning up the horse in front of you help keep a straight line. During the workshop sessions we practice opening and closing positions on command at the walk and the trot.
The Z exercise works the horses and riders across the diagonal in a neat and tidy straight line, keeping a steady pace at either the walk or trot:
The ends of the arena need to be taken in an organized fashion - the cones there help keep riders focused on the pattern so they don't cut corners or drift in:
This isn't just a good exercise for precision in riding. In the above picture I am riding the grey pony at the end of the line. He has trouble staying at the back of a group, and here he is starting to listen well and keep the pace I ask of him. In drill team work the constant changes of order help horses and riders overcome any habit of preferring to be at the front, the back or in the middle of the "herd."
Last weekend we worked on drill team basics. An important benefit of doing drill team exercises is helping you and your horse learn to ride in close proximity to others. With practice, your horse will listen to you rather than fussing about other horses; and you will learn to feel and respond to your horse's reactions, so that you can direct him effectively when he needs help.
Here Kate and Donna's horses express their dislike of riding near each other:
Here the group is paying attention, moving forward and keeping up with their partners:
The trick to keeping pace with your partner is to keep the horses' throat-latches lined up. One needs to pay attention and direct ones horse to stay together, especially on turns.
At the most recent workshop we concluded with several rounds of drill team patterns. The girls did a great job and had a blast. The next workshop series will be the last two weekends in January and first two weekends in February. Thanks to Bobbie Wynne for taking and sharing the photo.
Here are a few more recent photos from around the ranch.
I'm riding the Fell pony Laddie in this photo, with Noel on her Appaloosa Willie. Willie came to me this fall for a couple of months and the two of them are doing great. Willie is a 14 yr. old appaloosa who did not understand what was expected of him and could not even hold a canter on a circle. He's got his basics down now and he and Noel are having a great time.
Don't forget that all the fundamental exercises I use when working with any horse and student are explained and taught in my book The Better Deal. The DVD also includes demonstrations of some of the same work.
And below a group shot of the students at the recent workshop:
Had a nice turnout and lots of productive fun at last Sunday's workshop. Below a few of the photos Bobbie took (thanks!):
Our eventing star Kate with Miss May:
A paint horse who was brought in to be evaluated as a husband horse. He's a little green:
And Kelly getting to know her neighbor Eileen's Fell Pony Laddie. Laddie was a nervous guy when he arrived at Broken Wheel Ranch a couple years ago after suffering some harsh treatment and poor care. Eileen brought him back to health and she and I worked together to bring back his confidence. He is very sociable, willing and kind now: