Sample Our Newsletter From "The First Thing I Do," Issue 15, part 1 of our FREE monthly newsletter
Re: horse ground training
Here's the first thing you should do with your horse today - and with any horse that's 'new to you.'
What's the first thing I do when I meet a new horse? The same thing you should do with your horse today and everyday: Give them a "resistance test." If you have the typical horse - whether you'd call him a problem child or a horse with just "occasional challenges" - this is for you.
If you get one thing from reading this article, it should be this: Any resistance from your horse while he's hanging out, just standing next to you munching grass, will be many times worse when things get hairy. If it takes one pound of pressure today to get him leading (away from that grass), it'll take one hundred when he gets spooked on the trail.
You have to ferret out those "one pound moments" and eradicate them like weeds. They're seeds that can grow into major disasters very quickly on the trail. If your horse "only freaks out once or twice a year but is otherwise great" - then you're fooling yourself. You're overlooking slip ups from your horse, perhaps on a daily basis, that will sooner or later get you hurt. Remember, accidents are by their very nature "things we don't expect."
If your horse went ballistic out on the trail last week... it didn't "just happen out of the blue." He's been telling you for weeks or months that he was going to lose it when enough pressure was applied every time he resisted (however slightly) the pull from your lead rope or reins.
If he walks ahead of you while you lead him, he's telling you that sooner or later he'll blow past you as you go through a gate or knock you on your kiester with his shoulder when something scares him bad enough.
If the muscles in his neck bulge toward you instead of relaxing when you put the bit in his mouth, he's telling you that he'll do mach sixty when he gets spooked on the trail.
Deal with these situations by doing two things: First establish a zero-tolerance policy; nip bad behavior in the bud the instant it happens. Example: If your horse inches past you as you lead, do an about-face and back that horse up. Keep him moving till he quits pushing back. (If he freezes pull on his head to pull his butt away from you. Getting those feet "unstuck" will allow you to keep backing till he lightens up.) Be adamant.
Second, get proactive. The first thing I do with any horse - and what I do each and everyday with all five of my own horses - is to see exactly where they stand when it comes to "resistance." Luckily the test and remedy are fun.
And having fun with this is a key point. Realize that every horse has resistance tucked away somewhere. Like an Easter egg, your job is to discover it. Instead of chocolate, your reward is a safer, more pleasant ride. The calmest, coolest, bestest trained horse you have ever seen has a little pocket of resistance hidden somewhere. Ever see that great comedy "The Ref"? Dennis Leary needs a cigarette bad. When he's told that actress Judy Davis has given up smoking, he smiles and asks her where her secret stash is. Being a smoker, he knows she's got one or two hidden somewhere in the house for high-stress moments.
In a like way, your horse may be a real pleasure 99% of the time, but somewhere inside him he's got resistance tucked away for "high-stress moments."
So let's get started squashing rebellion. Approach your horse from his left (bridled, haltered, bare naked, it matters not) and place your left hand
Train your horse yourself with the help of this terrific, comprehensive manual.
Newly revised and now spiral bound, the John Lyons Ground Control Manual contains over 30 of John's most important ground lessons. Perfect for green horses or for older horses that need their ground skills polished.
This is the only publication of its kind and one remarkable study guide. The John Lyons Ground Control Manual is a very detailed publication containing John's most important ground lessons. The manual is divided into two sections. Section 1 contains John's important but essential training principles and philosophies. This is significant because the principles behind the teaching are what make any lesson successful. You will also find the first 10 training lessons in Section 1. In Section 2 you will find the remainder of the training lessons, 20 in all, to complete this comprehensive ground training source.
There are many pictures to illustrate the steps to each lesson. This will help you with the problem-solving process to teach and refine your horse's performance. Each lesson has specific organization, and you will find a Teaching Preparation page that contains: an overview of the lesson, prerequisites that are recommended, an observable response that you should see at the end of the lesson, equipment that is needed, and additional important points. You will also find training cards for you to take to your training area for a convenient reference.
At the end of each lesson you will find a "What If ..." section. This will help with commonly asked questions or special situations that you may encounter. There is a Check Sheet to record your progress for the day. Lastly, each section has review questions about each lesson to help you to check your understanding.
This book and the principles contained inside can be used successfully over and over for any and every horse.
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