The Groundwork Training System®:
The Groundwork Training System® is fundamentally a way to explain what you want to the horse, a communication system that builds on the basics so that everything you ask is clear. It is classical longlining, modified for the lower levels and beginning development of the horse's abilities. It includes a central technique that overcomes the limitations of the inexperienced handler/trainer, making it possible for you to achieve excellent results from your own horse. It is also a series of exercises—a dressage-based system to develop the horse's natural balance, suppleness and athletic abilities in a gradual progression, without strain or confusion. And, it develops the eye and rein-handling techniques of the owner/trainer, building confidence and capabilities at the same time.
The GTS works for any age of horse, is safer than lungeing, and is suitable for any type of ultimate use, whether English or Western, dressage, jumping or driving. The natural and logical series of exercises will be useful throughout the entire training and competitive career, affording both a comfortable routine for warm-up or exercise, and encouraging a relaxed and rhythmical performance.
For the driver and the driving horse, the GTS offers a clear advantage because the aids and exercises are identical for both hitched and unhitched work. It also offers a way to teach classical dressage to the horse without having to be an accomplished dressage rider. For any horse that either can’t be ridden—youngsters, ponies or post–injury—or for those times when you can’t ride (or don’t have the time to), this is a safe and controlled method for exercise and conditioning.
It is also an excellent method for re–training and problem–solving, since it offers a precise control and safe distance during "discussions" with the horse. Many problems are the result of the horse’s confusion or tenseness. When the directions are calm, consistent and clear, the horse is able to relax and often proves relieved to comply.
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