A Well Trained Mind Directs Circumstance. Ground Work for Weanlings
- October 30, 2019
- Tiffany Schwenke
Fall is here. For many that means pumpkin spice and sweaters, but for us at North Four Mile Creek it means it is time to wean the foals. Days to come will be filled with working and playing with them. The foals all have their own personalities and they all have to have some basic ground work taught to them. That way they can have a better chance at handling everything else they are going to learn down the road. It truly sets them up for success.
Of course unforeseen events can and do bestow us all, but a well trained mind directs circumstance.
The more ground work you can do the better. It gives your foal the best chance at handling a bad situation with a calm mind. Whether you are up in the mountains and get tangled in wire or at a rodeo and a plastic bag blows over from the parking lot… having exposed your horse to ropes, plastic bags, and tarps in the controlled setting of the round corral will save you stress and possible injuries later.
A long buggy whip with a plastic bag is a great tool to use to desensitize a horse. We like to start on the ground, gradually working our way up, eventually having the whip with bag hanging over their back while they circle around the round corral in a relaxed manner.
After we get them used to the flag, we rope all of our colts around the neck and then by their feet so they learn to give to the pressure and not pull away. They learn this concept when being taught to lead at first, but when it comes to their legs they sometimes get scared and you have to teach them that it’s not as scary as they think. You can build their confidence while building a relationship together. We also play around with the rope over their butt and get them used to having ropes all around them.
Then as the foals grow and when we start them under saddle we repeat the steps with the saddle on.
Once you are horseback you will look back and be grateful for your time spent doing groundwork, building up your horse’s confidence, and creating a trusting relationship between you and your horse.
You may have bought a new horse, and need to go over all of these just in case. We always like to start basic ground work with every new horse we get because you would be surprised how many have never had the proper ground work done with them.
It’s also never a bad idea to do this all with your older horse from time to time just as a refresher.
About Tiffany Schwenke
My family has been ranching and raising horses for over 100 years. We raise, train, and market AQHA horses at North Four Mile Creek Horse Ranch. We produce the annual event WYO WILD RIDE RANCH RODEO. I am a wife and a mother to 3 amazing...