Part 1b Why
From: Vicki/ladywife <ladywife@b...>
Date: Sat May 27, 2000 7:25pm
Subject: Why ground training? Part 2
Who needs ground training? The same folks who needed potty training.
That's just about everyone isn't it? When you were born you didn't
what that porcelain throne was for until someone taught you about sitting
it. If someone had not taken the time to teach you about toilets
still be wearing a diaper.
Wait, you are saying, I thought this discussion was about ground training
horses/donkeys/mules? What has that got to do with us? You
know, the humans.
The answer is because YOU benefit more from the ground training than the
horse/donkey/mule does. Yeah. Really. Each individual
animal has it own
way of moving, thinking, and responding. In an average day I ride
different horses/donkeys/mules. Each one of them is different.
I can not
expect one to respond to the exact same cue that works for a different
animal. That is what ground training is about, about learning the
and learning how to communicate with him. If you ask Rogo, I am sure
will tell you her mammoth does not respond exactly like her steer or her
pig. She will also probably tell you she learned how to communicate
each of them by doing ground work.
While you are teaching your h/d/m ground work, you are actually learning
useful and needed information too.
Every time you approach a horse/donkey/mule you are unknowingly doing ground
work. Your h/d/m is learning how you move, how you think, and what
expect of him. If every time you enter his pasture you chase him
corner until he stops running so you can grab his halter, you have just
taught him he is supposed to run like a fool so you can get your daily
exercise before you direct him into the corner where he is supposed to
and wait for you to grab him.
Don't chase him. He thinks you want him to run. If this is
a habit your
h/d/m has developed you need to short circuit it now before the day arrives
when there is an emergency and you need to catch him quickly so you can
him to safety. Walk up to the gate with empty hands and if he turns
moves away from you, turn around and put your back to him. This is
language for "you hurt my feelings." Stand there for at least 5 minutes
don't move. 9 out of 10 animals will approach you to see what is
H/D/M are gawkers. They are nibby. They can not resist knowing
are doing. When he approaches, ignore him. That's what he did
to you, so
now you are doing it back to him so he will know how you felt. Humpf
and walk away. Don't look back. Just walk away. Go do
that he can hear you doing but can't see you doing it.
In 30 minutes walk back to the gate again. He will still probably
so repeat what you did earlier. The second time is important if he
away. This reinforces in his mind that he hurt your feelings.
again and continue with your noisy work where he can't see you. Come
again in another 30 minutes. This time his curiosity has the best
he may move slightly away a few steps but that's okay. That's an
distance. The habit you want to break is when he moves several steps
walks away just out of your reach so you end up following him.
Anytime he puts you in a position where you are following him, turn around
and walk away from him. This lets him know you are not happy with
This is the very basics of ground training. To be able to train a
must learn to communicate your wishes to him in a way he will understand.
Two donkeys in a pasture. One wants to groom and the other one wants
left alone to take a nap. The second donkey will turn his back (butt)
the wanting-to-groom donkey to let him know "no". This is a posture
h/d/m already understands so use it to begin communicating with him.
walked up to the gate and your h/d/m walked away from you. He told
I do not want you to bother me now." You turned your back which told
you disagreed with him. Then you walked away telling him "well fine,
I'll just go do something fun and I won't share it with you."
When you returned the second time you were telling him you were giving
second chance to share some fun with you. If he walked away, you
the scolding by walking away from him again. The third time you approached
the gate he knew what to expect if he didn't wait patiently for you to
up to him. If he did wait patiently you rewarded him with praise
joyous tone of voice and rubbed his shoulder in a "you are my favorite
Being able to walk up to your h/d/m anytime, anyplace with NO FOOD IN YOUR
HANDS is an accomplishment you should be proud of. It is the first
step in developing a solid relationship.
One of the things I see most often is people set themselves up to fail.
They will put their h/d/m in a 40 acre field and then become frustrated
he high-tails it over the hill when they approach him. Or they will
in a suitable 10x20 paddock but they will put one or two other animals
with him. That does not work. Why should he make the effort
to learn how
to communicate with you if he has a buddy that already speaks his language?
Training is a one to one communication. Remember way back when you
elementary school? You were in a classroom with 20-40 other kids
teacher. When the teacher started explaining long division your mind
blank. It was like she was speaking Martian. Do what with this number
carry this to where? Borrow? Huh? Only when you took
your book up to her
desk and she spent one to one time explaining it to you were you able to
grasp all the strange words and notions of complicated mathematics.
you understood how it works it became a solid foundation for you to build
when she began throwing even weirder mathematic stuff at you. That
same thing you are doing with ground work. You are building a solid
foundation of cooperation and understanding.
Put him in a small enclosure by himself. You don't have to schedule
a day 7 days a week to do his ground training. Five minutes here,
minutes there every day and within a week's time you will be amazed at
much difference there is in how you can speak to your h/d/m.
If you want to jump right on and start riding, then go buy a h/d/m that
already well trained and spend a week learning to ride him under the
tutelage of his previous owner. That is the safest way and it avoids
traumatizing a beautiful, gentle creature. If you think you don't
to waste a week learning to talk to your new h/d/m, I will warn you now
expect him to change. If you have not made the effort to establish
communication with that well trained h/d/m eventually he will become
frustrated by your demand he do this and this and this and your lack of
giving to him in return and he will develop some rather nasty and unpleasant
habits. To be a pleasure for him and for you it must be a relationship.
You give and take and he takes and gives.
Even well trained experienced horses/donkeys/mules need that give and take
of an exchange of communication otherwise their confidence lags and the
disappears and they become unwilling slaves to your wants and demands.
Anyone who has ever tried to ride a barn sour h/d/m away from the barn
exactly what I mean. There is no pleasure in having to wrestle that
do get him to go the direction you want him to go.
Horses/donkeys/mules are not Chevrolets where you can jump in and turn
key when you want to go somewhere and then park them out of the way until
you want to go again. They are living, breathing, feeling, thinking
and blood with emotions, wants, and needs just like us. Sure, they
4 legs and bray or whinny but their heart can be broken just like ours.
you have to do is observe the depth of emotion a new mother displays for
newborn foal to understand how much like us they really are.