The All Important Ground MannersExactly what are ground manners? Why are they so important? Many articles have been written on “ground manners” and their relationship to a horse’s ridden behavior. If you have a pushy and resistant horse when working with him from the ground (leading, lounging or saddling) he is going to certainly be resistant and pushy when you are in the saddle. Everything you ask of him from the ground you are going to be asking of him from the saddle; and since you cannot teach a horse’s mouth a thing, because the mouth doesn’t have a brain, ignorance of the brain will have a direct effect upon the mouth. So the attitude that goes with a ground ignorant horse can translate into all kinds of other vices, all the way up to bucking you off.
Pay attention to what your horse is telling you when you are working with him from the ground such as leading him. Does he walk in front of you or pull back or worse yet get into your space putting you in danger of being stepped on? Does he fidget when you are trying to saddle him? Does he buck and pull away from you on the lounge line? All of these things need to be addressed and corrected before you ever attempt to put yourself in harm’s way and climb onto his back.
So take the time, go back to the beginning and you will end up safer — and your horse will become happier as you have become his leader, and that’s all he wanted in the first place.