Proof that ground work really does pay off!
A recent study of dressage horses in Germany that looked at rein length and tension revealed a surprising finding: horses who were regularly trained in ground work/in-hand work had lower heart rates during ridden work than all of the other participating horses. This wasn’t what the researchers were investigating, but it was clear in the results. From this, the researchers concluded that, “Perhaps horses trained in ground work had more trust in their rider.”
So why would it be true that horses who regularly learn via ground work/in-hand work are more relaxed? There are a few possibilities.
1) Horses trained regularly with ground work are more relaxed because their trainers are more relaxed. It’s possible that humans who take the time to teach their horses from the ground are less goal oriented and more concerned with the process. They may be more relaxed in general and foster this same relaxation…
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