Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Groundwork Waltz - Full Article

Story by Tracey Emslie with John Lyons
How to achieve hindquarter control, softness, and shoulder control as if you were dancing.

Since riding is your goal, let's practice some groundwork steps that apply directly to your riding. You'll focus on moving one spot at a time in a specific direction, then you can observe how this action affects your horse’s performance, or what your horse does as a result of moving that one spot. The key here is to become an observer, and also to realize that many things are happening at one time as a result of one thing you're doing.

By putting the Spot, Direction, Pressure, Release formula to work, you gain more control of your horse. It improves any horse’s behavior in all areas. It can be a foundation to teach your horse to lead better, perform better under saddle, and become softer and more responsive to your commands.

What You Need
Give these exercises an hour and a half of honest effort, and you will find you have a different horse. The first step in the exercises takes the longest, but it will be worth the effort because of the results. See these exercises through to the end, don't give up, don't change, hang in there! These exercises set the foundation for many levels of performance and control.

Equipment. Although this exercise can be started even with a foal in just a halter, in most cases you should have a bridle on your horse with a snaffle bit. A dressage whip is a useful tool. It also helps to put a marker between your feet. This can be a cone, a clod of dirt, a plastic water bottle, or anything that will help you remember to keep your own feet still and not walk around the horse. The horse is the one who does the walking.


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