When our geldings graduate from this level, they have completed 27 ground lessons that concentrate on gaining their respect, as well as getting the horse to willingly take the shapes you desire from the ground. We also introduce bitting up exercises that build the foundation for getting the horse soft in the face, collecting, and lateral bend.
Also incorporated in this level is a focus on ground manners. The horse is hobble trained, and learns to stand tied for an extended period of time without a fuss. The respect learned from hobble training leaves a mindset with the horse that you are the leader in the horse human relationship. Achieving and maintaining this mindset is critical for safe and successful training.
The ground lessons also teach the horse the concept of sensitizing whereby he learns that his reward is the release of pressure. With the use of physical and mental pressures, the horse learns that the wrong thing is not easy, but the right thing is much easier, and he is rewarded with the release of pressure. This is a basic concept that the horse must learn early on to be successful at the next levels of training.
And finally, this level incorporates a lot of desensitizing. We introduce as many things as possible, beginning with desensitizing to the saddle, crossing tarps, flags, ropes, gunshots, cars, bicycles, and everything in between. It’s not really the item, but more so teaching the horse to relax and trust you in scary situations.
In summary when our geldings graduate from this level they are respectful and have excellent ground manners. They willingly:
- Stand tied quietly
- Take shapes desired from the ground
- Load, Clip, bathe, worm, vaccinate
- Stand quietly for the farrier
- Trust you in a scary situation
- Seek release of pressure for doing the right thing
- Flex vertically and laterally with a halter and O Ring snaffle
- Respect your space