Cowgirl - Ground


A difficult to handle horse can make your work so much harder! Horse owners often focus on riding and neglect essential ground manners. It’s important you have a well-behaved horse for not only the safety of you, but anyone that goes around him including the farrier, vet, and farm owner. You should be able to check off these six ground exercises from your horse’s education.

  1. Lead quietly – Your horse should remain focused on you as you lead him around. He should easily follow your path and speed. If you ask him to halt, he should immediately response. A well-mannered horse will be easy to back and turn in different directions. He should be comfortable with you leading from various sides and positions.
  2. Stand still – A patient horse that can be ground tied or cross-tied is important. He should also stay still when you ask him to halt and stand for the farrier, vet, or to be groomed. He should not pull, fuss, or act jittery.
  3. Be caught – Your horse shouldn’t run or walk away from you when you enter his field to catch him. If you have to corner him or lure him with grain and treats, you might want to reevaluate his manners. A difficult to catch horse can waste time and even be dangerous if they panic while trying to get away.
  4. Touched everywhere – Teach your horse to allow you to handle his entire body. Sometimes the ears, udder, sheath, or flank can be extra sensitive, but these areas need to be cared for without fear of being kicked. If he sustains an injury, the vet will need access to the area without the horse panicking.
  5. Yield to pressure – You should be able to move your horse’s hindquarters with gentle pressure. He should also lower his head, walk forward or backwards, and move his shoulders depending on where and how you to apply the pressure.
  6. Driving aids – Your horse should also response to indirect pressure. If you ask him to get out of your space or go forward by directing him with your body language, he should react immediately.

These top six ground manners can save you and your horse from a dangerous situation. Your horse must respect you as the leader and follow your commands. He should also be well disciplined for other handlers that might have to interact with him. By practicing these manners, you’ll have a better horse!