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Teaching Ground Manners

15 August 2011 No Comment

Teaching Ground Manners
We asked horse training expert Rhett Russell.
More on Rhett.

Question:
I just purchased my first horse in Feb. She is a 3-year-old mare. She was well broke when I got her and she is wonderful, a real joy, when we ride together. But, her ground manners are those of a 3-year-old. She is bossy, pushy, excitable, etc. How do you teach ground manners? I don’t even know how to begin to start teaching her how to stand still. I know that some of this will come with age, but in the mean time, what ways can I start working
with her?

Thank you,
Connie

Answer:
Hi Connie:
Ground manners don’t just happen over time. You establish the foundation with the horse by how you react and respond to the horse when working with her on the ground.
Horses constantly test their position in life against those around them. It sounds like she’s “bossy”, pushy, etc. because you tolerate this behavior, don’t realize it’s happening, or don’t know how to fix it. If you leave ground manners to happen on their own, you might end up with good manners and a horse that can stand still – but why leave this to chance?
There’s too much to go into to give you an answer on how to build ground manners in this horse in a quick response. Read some books on this topic, there is a lot of good information out there. You can find many articles on “gaining respect” from your horse within the “Article Library” section of www.TodaysHorse.com. Just search through the articles in the “Riding & Training section.”
Since this is your first horse, I would suggest getting the assistance of a professional trainer or at least a friend with a lot of experience. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help.
Good Luck and please keep me posted on your progress,
Rhett

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