Groundwork With Our Horses: Why We Do It

Safe and smart groundwork can help build the foundation for a confident, well-behaved horse.
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Groundwork With Horses: Why We Do It
Groundwork can improve the horse-human relationship, lead to safer sessions in the saddle, and serve as a fun tool for better control, confidence, and connection with the animals we love. | Photo: Courtesy Kristy Helmsen

Safe and smart groundwork can help build the foundation for a confident, well-behaved horse

Groundwork just isn’t my thing. I’ve grown up loving horses, but I’ve loved being on them, not necessarily standing in front of them. Like many people, I’ve had this idea that horses are supposed to be ridden. So why spend all this time on the ground with them? 

Yet if I take a look back, I see that I was spending a lot of time on the ground with my horses. Grooming, washing, and braiding them. Moving their hindquarters over so I could shovel poop around them. Feeding them hay, grain, and endless carrots. Leading them over the bridge in my backyard because Dad wouldn’t let me ride over it. Hugging them tight for a good cry over some boy. And most of all, playing hide and seek with them, again and again and again, around the paddock trees. 

I admit, this is where the real relationships grew. This is where the connections were made that continued up in the saddle later

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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