What you do BEFORE you hit the trail can greatly affect your time on it.

It’s not ALL about getting in the saddle! Care for your horse begins with both of your feet placed firmly on the ground…

Groundwork: what is it?

Alright, so what ARE those exercises we equine enthusiasts use on the ground? Well, there are many, but I’ve gathered several here that should help get you started, or perhaps add to your regular groundwork routine.

My horse encyclopedia describes it as:

“Those exercises we perform out of the saddle, which help form the foundation, or support the relationship with, and condition of, your equine; the essentials; first principals.”


Groundwork for your Top Trail Horse:


This horse is being exercised on a lunge line

Probably the most popular and most effective form of groundwork. Begin by attaching a lunge line (a long, flat lead rope) to your horse utilizing your horse’s halter ring. Lead your equine to a large open area by folding up the end of your lunge line in your non-dominant hand (NEVER EVER wrap a lead line around your hand), and a long lunge whip in your other. Use the whip NOT on the horse, but on the ground just behind him, to gently ask him to go in a circle, with you in the middle, as large as the lead rope is long. Ask him to gradually increase his speed using clicks, kisses, or the lunge whip. You can then use the long lunge whip to stop the horse from his current direction and get him turn and go the other way, by holding the whip parralell to the ground in front of the horse. Cool down your Top Trail Horse by gradually decreasing speed. When your lunging is complete, put your lunge whip on the ground, and call your equine back to your side.

Go For a Walk!

Taking your horse for a walk is a fabulous way to connect with your Top Trail Horse.

You take your Top Trail Dog for walks, don’t you? Your horse enjoys them, too. I’ve always had a habit of taking horses for a walk as well as a ride prior to riding or purchasing them. I also speak out loud to the equines in my life, both during our walks as well as any other time, for that matter. When you spend quality time with your horse, you’ll have more quality rides.

Did you know?

A stalled horse can walk up to 5 miles a day in that stall? Be certain you’re giving your Top Trail Horse the space and exercise he or she needs.

Pony Your Ride!

Another great way to get your Top Trail Horse exercised properly is to pony them beside another horse you’re riding.

Plow Reining (aka long-reining):

A rider uses two lunge lines to act as plow reins.

Plow Reining is both great exercise on the ground as well as training with reins for your yearling. It requires plow reins (very long reins which can be manuevered from behind the horse), and can help you and horse learn communication via reins.

See what all the other trail riders are talking about at

These are a only a few of many ways you can interact with your Top Trail Horse on the ground which, in turn, will certainly help you interact with him in the saddle!

I’d love to hear any of your groundwork favorites, so feel free to add them below.

Until next time!!!


Top Trail Horse Challenge 
Leaderboard is monthly, based on total mileage for the month, has three divisions, awards given

Top Trail Rider Challenge 
Leaderboard is quarterly, based on total mileage for the quarter, has three divisions, awards given

Trail Master GPS Rider Challenge 
Based on the number of rides logged by the rider for the quarter, has three divisions, awards given

Ways to win with Too Trail Horse

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