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Ground Manners = Undersaddle Manners?

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  • Ground Manners = Undersaddle Manners?

    I have long thought of posting this, never yet had the courage to do so. I have heard there is a book called "You Ride the Horse You Lead." And I thought "dear Lord I hope not." My guy and I, well, our ground manners are not what one would hope for. And I didn't realize that we had such a problem until I saw the farrier with him, and my guy was PERFECT for the farrier. So, clearly this is a problem with me. His head is on me all the time. Wherever I go around him, unless he is tied, his head is on me. When he is tied, he is pawing. That's why I usually deal with him untied. At least his head being on me doesn't cause property damage! However, undersaddle, he is great! We have about ten minutes of minor arguments while he is warming up, and then, I have to stop him. He's like a TB, the rider has to be the one to call it quits because he never will. What has you all's collective experience been? Does the way a horse behaves on the ground translate directly to the way he behaves under saddle?

  • #2
    It's probably a strong but not perfect match... There's a mare in the barn where I board who's a witch on the ground (she will not run you over, but she will kick or threaten to kick, pins her ears, can be a bit pushy.) Under saddle she is super-reliable as a jumper and kids can ride her.

    Mine is one where the association is quite strong... The more consistent I am about ground manners, the better she is under saddle.
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

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    • #3
      I think it all depends on whose doing the handling and the horse. I knew of a school horse who had to wear a muzzle anytime somebody was around him on the ground. He was a saint for all his little up-downers, and packed many a kiddo around the ring.

      I've seen the other side of the coin too. Horses that are saints on the ground, but total [beep]holes to ride.

      Some people are more comfortable/confident in the tack as well, and that resonates with their mounts. I really think it just depends on the individual pair, the rider's level of confidence in the tack vs. on the ground, and the way the wheels turn in the horse's head.

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      • #4
        I've had a horse or two where the safest place was ON them.
        ::I do not understand your specific kind of crazy, but I do admire your total commitment to it::

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks, Ann and Superminion. This has been a constant thought of mine, as, while it has gotten better, there were times when I could not lead my horse to the barn (he is in a separate area with other horses, what they call the mare barn) to be tacked up without rearing, pulling back, and generally being a pain in the ass. And I wondered, during the ten minutes of hell that he presents to me during our warm-up, could this all be related?

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            SmartAlex, I definitely feel that the safest place to be is on him. After the first 10 - 15 minutes on him, it doesn't matter, but in the first bit, wow, you have got to be on your game. Have you ever heard "ride them uphill, they can't buck uphill?" Ha! I challenge you one Swedish Warmblood. Great thing is, it is easy to sit an uphill buck.

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            • #7
              I think ground manners and riding manners go hand-in-hand generally. Without sounding too "natural horsemanshipy," it's a matter of respect and herd leadership.

              I can usually tell what kind of ride I'm going to have by how my horse is behaving while I'm grooming and saddling up. My mare, who in general is a bitch, usually needs some smacking around in the cross ties if she starts the day with an attitude. If I don't correct her bitchiness from the get-go, I can pretty much count on a lousy ride.
              Surgeon General warns: "drinking every time Trump lies during the debate could result in acute alcohol poisoning."

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              • #8
                I definitely think ground manners and riding behavior are strongly related. It's a respect issue. I have to stay on top of my horse's ground manners, otherwise he does start to become a PITA to ride.

                During the Epic Battle of Winter 2011/2012, I had to do 15-30 minute intense groundwork sessions before getting on him for over a month. It wasn't fun, but it worked.

                I would not consider 10 minutes of terrible behavior at the beginning of every ride acceptable, and I would try to fix it. I would start with the groundwork component of things and see if it gets you where you need to be.

                I feel like if you don't get a handle on this, it's going to slowly creep up to 15 minutes of bad behavior under saddle, then 20, then 25...then...the whole ride. Yuck.

                How old is the horse, btw? If he is young(ish), I'd especially try to nip this in the bud now. Although, a horse of any age is not too old to learn how not to be a big jerk.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
                  I think ground manners and riding manners go hand-in-hand generally. Without sounding too "natural horsemanshipy," it's a matter of respect and herd leadership.
                  That is what I feel like I don't have, Go Fish. My trainer said "he isn't respecting you, you need to do join-up," and I went "GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR."

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    FineAlready, he is not young at all. He is 14. He should be in the prime of his career, however he was sold through two board bill situations and I am bringing him back, and, to be quite honest, I baby him like he is a newborn. I'm a special ed teacher, so I apply the same methods to him that I do with my students. Ultimately, we get to the same result (in our case, 20 m circles at all gaits) but it takes A LOT longer to get there than it should.

                    ETA: I get what you are saying about ten becoming fifteen, becoming twenty, becoming twenty-five. I am NOT willing to deal with that. In terms of groundwork, what did you do?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mayhew View Post
                      SmartAlex, I definitely feel that the safest place to be is on him. After the first 10 - 15 minutes on him, it doesn't matter, but in the first bit, wow, you have got to be on your game. Have you ever heard "ride them uphill, they can't buck uphill?" Ha! I challenge you one Swedish Warmblood. Great thing is, it is easy to sit an uphill buck.
                      I see your Swedish Wamblood and raise you one really big hot bred American Saddlebred.
                      ::I do not understand your specific kind of crazy, but I do admire your total commitment to it::

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
                        I think ground manners and riding manners go hand-in-hand generally. Without sounding too "natural horsemanshipy," it's a matter of respect and herd leadership.
                        How does "herd leadership" relate to what you do in the saddle? I mean, there isn't any analog to it in horse-horse interactions.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mayhew View Post
                          My trainer said "he isn't respecting you, you need to do join-up," and I went "GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR."
                          My mother tells me all the time "your horse has to respect you."

                          Yes Ma'am he does, he has so much respect for my riding ability he assumes I can stay with him.
                          ::I do not understand your specific kind of crazy, but I do admire your total commitment to it::

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SmartAlex View Post
                            I've had a horse or two where the safest place was ON them.
                            10-4 on that. My before the last mare I had, Appy, on the ground, you could get stomped. She had been over-handled to death before I got her and was sickandtired of all the handling. But, in the tack?? Yowza!

                            Then, there is the perfect ground horse who could launch you to the moon, but, I don't think they are that common. My experience only.

                            I haven't read the referenced book (nor heard of it... ) but going by the title, I'm leaning towards disagreeing with it. Maybe someday I'll get around to reading it...maybe not.
                            GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!

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                            • #15
                              I don't think there's a 1:1 relationship between ground manners and work ethic. Horses are pretty adept at figuring out when or in what circumstances they can push you around, and it sounds like your boy has figured out that he can be pushy and "in your space" on the ground, but under saddle he'd better buckle down & get to work.
                              "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by SmartAlex View Post
                                Yes Ma'am he does, he has so much respect for my riding ability he assumes I can stay with him.
                                That is sig-line worthy.
                                GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                                  I definitely think ground manners and riding behavior are strongly related. It's a respect issue. I have to stay on top of my horse's ground manners, otherwise he does start to become a PITA to ride.
                                  This is my experience as well.

                                  My horse must have good ground manners. Period. She is not allowed to rub, stomp, paw, get in my dance space, etc.

                                  Like a previous poster, I also can judge how our ride is going to be based on those few minutes of grooming, tacking up, etc. If she's up, then I do some ground work (not just mindless lunging) and then she's much better to ride once her focus has been redirected to me.
                                  Dreaming in Color

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                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by SmartAlex View Post
                                    I see your Swedish Wamblood and raise you one really big hot bred American Saddlebred.
                                    You have me beat there! His bucks are honestly quite cute. My trainer refers to them as "dolphin leaps."

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I'm confused about this quote...

                                      "However, undersaddle, he is great! We have about ten minutes of minor arguments while he is warming up, and then, I have to stop him."

                                      I don't consider 10 minutes of arguing to be a "great" horse under saddle. He's obviously still testing you out. The head on you is a big sign of disrespect. I don't think it ALWAYS translates that a horses ground behavior translates to their under saddle behavior but in this case is sounds like you really do need to work on getting him to behave on the ground and I bet it will make him better under saddle. However you need to be the same herd leader when you are on his back as you are when you are on the ground. Horses are always testing us!

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by SmartAlex View Post

                                        Yes Ma'am he does, he has so much respect for my riding ability he assumes I can stay with him.
                                        May I make that my signature?

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