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1: One of the driving lines is at- tached to a vertical post as Sue confi rms Illusion’s acceptance of the lines around her legs, over her back and under her tail before driving her. Never tie a horse hard and fast when introducing a new exercise, which could result in injury to horse or human—which is why there is only one loop around the vertical post with the lead line.


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Pedestal training teaches a horse to be aware of what each foot is doing (sep- arately) while instilling confi dence, reliability and predictability. Pedestals are great preparation for trail training.


7. Whoa. You may notice that “whoa” is not at the top of our list. We begin the process as we incorporate it into the turnback exercise above. It will be easier to teach a horse to “whoa” after he has gained confi dence in taking direction with his forward movement and turns.


8. Ground tie. A horse learns to stand where he is placed and to stay with the lead dropped. We use a mat or other marker to help the horse bet er understand how to stay in position.


9. Come when called. We teach our horses to recognize and respond to their names. A dog may come running eagerly at the sound of his name, and although a horse may not respond exactly in the same manner, he can still be taught to be called by name from a pasture group.


Ground skills will give you and your horse the


beginning of a foundation with which to continue on to saddle training. Every 30-minute training session that you invest your time in will give you more reliability and pleasure in your mount when he graduates to trail riding. Giving clear and consistent cues is actually


like giving instructions in pantomime. Spending 30 minutes a day with your horse will sharpen your skills as a teacher. Physical cues indicate a touch with either hand or a guider whip; proxim- ity cues mean where your body is in relation to the horse’s body; and verbal cues are the delivery of one or two very distinct words. A reasonably intelligent horse will begin to


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2: Sue has a short longe or driving whip in her right hand to ask Illusion to move away from her and into a walk, which is an extension of hav- ing taught her to move forward on a working length line. You can use a whip or your voice to ask a horse to move but never shake or slap the reins to ask for movement as it would send a confusing vibration to the bit. We made these driving lines with sailing rope and a small clip. T ey are 22 feet long and the rope has a lively feel in your hands.


3: Illusion is focused, at entive and engaged as she learns to walk out on a straight line in her fi rst ground-driving session with a bit. T e driving lines are soſt as the young mare is working with very light direction from Sue.


4: As Sue asked Illusion to “whoa,” she engaged her hindquarters and liſt ed her back in preparation to halt and take a step back. T e reins are slack in Sue’s hands as she has released the pressure on the bit to let Illusion fi nish the exercise on her own. T is exercise helps a horse strengthen the top line and develop balance and responsive- ness in preparation for the day she will carry the extra weight of a rider.


5: Aſt er several driving ses- sions, Illusion was able to off er beautiful and gymnastic moves on the driving lines, such as this turn on the haunches.


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