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A Good Ground Game

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To introduce your horse to the idea of yielding left and right once you get on his back, practice this ground exercise in the round pen.

  1. When you have your horse in the halter and lead rope in the middle of a round pen, stand on his left side and take the lead rope in your left hand. Begin to rub your horse’s face with the lead rope, running it over his ears, and then ease it over to his right side.

  2. Let the rope out more as you continue to rub your horse along his neck and back.

  3. Allow the rope to drape along his right side until it rests around his hindquarters. He will look at you with his left eye, but he will feel the pressure pulling him to the right.

  4. Now, step away from your horse’s left hip while still holding the end of your lead rope. You should be at a 90-degree angle with your horse. Hold the rope slightly taut.

  5. Your horse has to think through the process of yielding his hindquarters out of the way, following the feel to the right until he steps all the way around and is facing you again. This exercise also gives you an idea of how your horse feels about having a rope on his hindquarters. Repeat the exercise on the right side.

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