Ground driving is a training technique used to prepare horses for learning to ride under saddle. It teaches a horse the fundamentals of steering, backing, and bending side to side before being saddled and ridden. This is a great method to give your young horse the building blocks he needs to have a solid foundation from the very beginning.
First, you’re going to need two longe lines or ground driving lines. It’s important that they’re long enough so that you’re a safe distance away from your horse when you’re behind him. Clip one longe line to each side of your horse’s halter, similar to how reins are attached to a bit.
Move With Caution
It’s normal for your horse to be unsure when you first attach your lines to his halter and move them down his body. Make sure your horse is used to you touching his side and hips before you start the ground driving process. Slowly bring your lines down each side of his body so that it lays flat against him and sits just above his hocks. You can use a surcingle to keep the lines steady, but for teaching the basics it isn’t necessary.
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Let’s Get Moving
You’re going to keep your horse moving in a circle around you, just like if you were longing. It’s best to start in a round pen so he can use the wall to help with steering. But if you don’t have one, any enclosed space will work. Now, make sure you have a hold on both lines and slowly ask him to move forward.
Keep your hands high enough that your lines stay off the ground and have a some slack in them. You don’t want to keep your lines so tight that he’s constantly feeling pressure from you. He won’t be able to tell when you are and aren’t asking him to do something. You just need enough pressure to keep him focused and relaxed.
Now you’re ready to get to work. Watch this video from Horse&Rider OnDemand to see what the next steps are when teaching a horse to ground drive.
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Anthony Leier is no stranger to the winner’s circle or to training young horses. He has had unparalleled success in the yearling longe line events. The preparedness of the young horses that come out of Leier’s yearling program enables them to move on seamlessly into the under saddle events. He currently owns and operates Leier Performance Horses in Gordonville, Texas.