Starting From The Ground Up...

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I recently just got a 3 year old that I think has been rushed along to be broke under saddle but missed a lot of ground work along the way. She is very nervous and just seems to not know what is expected of her...

For example loaded onto the trailer like a dream but when we got home she would not back off the trailer for nothing. At no point did I feel like she was just being a bully or stubborn about the situation. It seemed more like she just didn't know.

I am wanting to really focus on building a relationship and solid ground work with her before I even worry about riding! Desensitizing, trust, and confidence is something I think should be instilled in a young horse. Unfortunately I do not have a round pen to work in, but just wanted to get some opinions on what are some go to things to do with young horses!?!?

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Take them everywhere and show them everything you can do, literally. Long rein everywhere, do softening and lateral work on the ground (over, back, sideways, forwards, flexions, stretches, etc).

I ponied and led my colt everywhere from day one - tied everything I could possibly think of to him, got him comfortable with ropes anywhere (round legs etc......taught him to lie down with use of ropes which was very useful when he got wrapped up in wire a couple of years back and just simply realised the wire ('rope') was stuck round his leg and just lied down and waited to be sorted instead of panicking and causing further damage! No injury at all caused.

I took him everywhere in hand - even down to the yearly fun fayre watching all the rides in action and being a bit of a kids petting attraction!

I harnessed him also so he could have a future potential of driving to go into, got him dragging tyres, pallets, etc.

Anything scary potentially, I took him up and past and made to next to it.

Liberty work also was a large part. Correct freeschooling, and normal inhand work loose. He will back up, turn, over, lie down (though still work in progress loose - we seem to bow more than lie down loose lol) and follow everywhere at liberty (poles, tunnels, cones, gates, open spaces etc) as well as knowing stand, wait and come.

I basically wanted a horse with manners and that I felt I could ask to do anything. So we did and still do, everything and anything offered.

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You should have been at the Equine conference that I was at, this weekend!

Some great speakers, including PhDs/DVMs in equine behavior, trainers that compete in cowboy trail challenges, ect

Much what N.N. said applies.

Horses have the inborn instinct to form strong pair bonding, and it is very lucky for us, that with correct training, they can transfer that bond from another horse to us

That is key to all training-having the horse learn to feel secure in our presence, like they do with a herd member, plus gaining their respect

I used to ground drive my young horses a lot, exposing them to stuff, but no longer do. This is for several reasons, First, you are never going to expose them to everything they might encounter, plus id you truly have their respect and trust, plus body control, then those tools work way beyond any attempt to expose a horse to everything

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Start at the beginning - maybe use some videos - I think Clinton Anderson's method is easy to follow and gives you a path that doesn't leave many holes.

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