Ground Tying – The Easy Way and Ponying a Yearling
I find lunging a horse on a line or in a round pen free before you ride them or work with them can help a lot in keeping their energy at a desired level to work with. If you have treated your horse fairly then he’s not going to run away from you, more likely he will follow you. This makes for a good ground tying foundation.
When I really want to work on the ground tie I like to use a 20 ‘ lead rope with a thin rope halter so that I can walk away from the horse and check the lead, using a quick tug and release, if the horse moves towards me. When I don’t want a horse to walk towards me I check the lead line with my left hand while I raise my right hand above my head as a signal to stand still. I use the word whoa when I check the line so when I don’t have a lead line they will hear me and stop.
When I catch my horse to groom, ride or work with I don’t tie them up. This way every time I bring them out I am teaching them to ground tie. I am always ready to check the lead rope if they start to move while I am brushing or saddling. When I am brushing or saddling there is always some eye contact so that I am not late if the horse moves. One must think quicker than the horse. You must be able to see the horse move before he actually does and if you are paying attention you can see it coming.
On Ponying a Yearling:
If a person is raising a baby and their mare is well broke; or, if they have a very gentle saddle horse and they didn’t plan on going very far, it might be a good idea.
The one thing you don’t want to do is take your baby on some trail ride. I think it is too much to force a yearling to go long distances. Also, when ponying your yearling there is a risk that the pony horse might want to kick your yearling. Often times pony horses don’t like yearlings… so always be aware.
If you are ponying your yearling, you must get prepared to let your lead rope slide if you dally if he should spook or want to pull back. This will keep your yearling from injuring his neck or back from a sudden impact. You can just hold the rope from your horse’s back but you can’t keep the yearling from danger if they bolt or spook. On the positive side, a yearling can learn a lot along side another horse especially if it his mother outside of his own domain and can gain confidence rather quickly.