GroundWork is a confidence builder for both the horse and rider.

Groundwork will determine the success you will have with your horse as far as leadership goes. Groundwork will also determine the amount of stress and frustration you will have later when riding your horse. People think that groundwork is just for gaining respect. Well, there's a much bigger purpose for groundwork than you realize. Such as:


  • Groundwork is a confidence builder for both the horse and human.

  • It is an opportunity to build mutual trust, confidence, respect, and a way for human and horse to learn how to communicate with each other.

  • The human can establish himself in the leadership role.

  • Getting you and your horse handy on the halter rope makes everything easier, including catching, leading, trailering, saddling, mounting, shoeing, and all riding activities.

  • Respect and communication are as necessary during the day to day things, we do with our horses, from feeding, training and socializing. Always use body language your horse understands when asking him to do something. Like when you ask him to leave his stall. Point in the direction you want him to go instead of rushing him out with a lead rope or whip.



By being in the horse's world, you should think like a horse. In your groundwork training sessions,
you are building communication by using body language. I use the same body language, whether I'm training or not.

This will build curiosity, trust, and understanding. 

Now, on the ground, you are in a position to "Focus" on every thought, decision, and action your horse makes - think and learn from him. You can easily watch his feet and how he operates naturally. This groundwork will help you learn how to receive and keep your horse's attention.

Horse's do not have a short attention span. But, to maintain their attention and to earn their trust and confidence, make thing's interesting, challenging and rewarding for them.



Sometimes groundwork is overdone. Boredom or stress usually shows up in horse's who have been worked in multiple circles, with few transitions. These horses have the usual glazed over look in their eye, going through the motions physically but mentally inattentive. There is no need to drill your horse at any groundwork.

Use groundwork as a starting point to help the horse learn to respond to pressure and from pressure.

Focus helps the human learn to look for the timing of the release, thereby rewarding their horse's response.



Groundwork is an excellent evaluation tool. Before starting each riding session, check to see if your horse is mentally hooked on to you. Is he responsive, supple and attentive? A few minutes of quality groundwork can evaluate and prepare your horse. Many problems that might come up can be avoided by getting things on track with groundwork.

This groundwork will help you and your horse trust and have confidence in each other.

Everything you do together will become easier and your horse more pleasurable to be around. He will be respectful of you and your personal space. And not walk all over or push on you.

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Larry French-3L Horsemanship

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