Take the high ground

Posted 29th February 2024

Feel confident handling your pony with Meg Elphick’s groundwork guide!


Groundwork sessions are invaluable! Not only do they help establish good manners and build your confidence as a partnership, they also create the foundations for your ridden work. Here are five tasks for you to try and my top tips to help you ace them! 

 Top tip

It’s really important for your safety that you wear a riding hat, pair of gloves and sturdy boots when handling and leading your pony.

Task 1: Leading around the yard

Why? Being able to safely and correctly lead your pony around the yard is essential – after all, you need to take him to and from the field so he can enjoy some free time!

Let’s go: Practise walking your pony in and out of his stable, around the yard and along the track to his field.

Top tips

  • position yourself next to your pony’s shoulder and use your voice and body language to encourage your pony to go forward or slow down
  • avoid letting your pony drag you to see his friends or snack on some grass, as he might develop a bad habit. Try using half-halts to keep his attention

Task 2: Playing with poles

Why? Working your pony over poles on the ground will allow him more range of movement compared with when you’re riding.

Let’s go: You can set up any type of layout but start with only a few poles. You can then progress to raising them off the ground slightly.

Top tips

  • always stay in walk and let your pony step over the poles slowly, don’t rush him – it’s really good for his strength, agility and awareness of where he’s placing each foot
  • make sure you concentrate on where you’re stepping, too! You don’t want to trip over and spook your pony

Discover more of Meg’s groundwork tips in April PONY – grab your copy today!

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