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How to Improve Your Horse’s Ground Manners

Instilling proper manners through groundwork adds to the everyday enjoyment, and safety, of spending time with your equine partner. If you want your horse to lead well, here are some ways to develop better ground control skills. Visualize what you want. Envision your horse walking calmly beside you as you tour around the show grounds and standing in his own space as you stop to have a conversation with a friend, or change the bit on your bridle. Define your expectations. How fast do you want to walk back to the barn? Define what “walking beside me” looks like. How far in front and behind your shoulder is his free zone before you correct him? Clarify your terms. When I hear someone describe their horse as a “real personality,” or “in your pocket,” I hear code words for pushy. Yet terms such as respect or dominance are misleading because the…

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