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Video Series; Basic Ground Work with Ellen Terray Part 1

Ground Work Ellen Terray

Video Series; Basic Ground Work with Ellen Terray Part 1

Part 1 of the Ellen Terray ground work series with Everything Horse includes; leading in hand, circles, way of going and bending.

About Ellen

Ellen Terray is a professional trainer from Malmesbury in Wiltshire. She specialises in producing horses of all ages and abilities for dressage and eventing and uses a system that combines her classical training with aspects of natural horsemanship to produce well mannered, happy athletes.

More information about Ellen can be found here: https://ellenterray.wordpress.com/

Horse: The horse used in the video is named Darcy. He is owned by, Nikki Hand, and list 2 judge, Tessa Thorned. He is currently in training with Abbie Newbury

In this video we start with some basic ground work that is very useful to do before you ride and will give you some fun partnerwork to do together. Our horse for this video is Pauli, a 6 year old Novice event horse. Pauli is used to doing these exercises so remember to build up very gradually with your own horse.


Exercise 1. Start by leading your horse in hand:
– if she drags behind, touch her with the whip to keep good marching rhythm;
– if she pulls you forward, stop and ask for a step back a few strides by touching the front legs below the knees with the whip;
– if your horse answers your question, praise her by stopping and giving it a break;
– repeat on each rein until it feels easy and horse is noticeably calm but reactive.

Exercise 2. Lead/turn your horse on a small (8-5 meters) circle in each direction:
– look out for your horse willingly bending whole of it’s body in either direction;
– easily yielding towards or away from you;
– your horse should be willing but not taking charge;
– incorporate exercises from number 1.

Exercise 3. Check if your horse is genuinely relaxed and happy with you by asking it to lower it’s head and keeping it there willingly whilst standing completely immobile (important!):
– do it by either applying the slight but firm pressure with your hand on poll and taking it off immediately(!) when horse drops head slightly. Like this you can gradually ask for lower and lower stretch;
– or using the reins but applying the same principle as above.

Exercise 4. Ask the horse to bend it’s neck each way:
– the horse must not move, if it does – go back to previous exercises;
– gradually ask for as much bend as possible. You have to have a feeling that the horse is completely happy to bend and it’s not you who “holding” the neck;
– don’t hurry, take your time!


Part 2 to include; Turn on the Forehand, leg yield along the wall, leg yield along the school and mounting!

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