The 10 Step Groundwork Checklist

Whenever I do an evaluation on a horse, it always starts with groundwork.

And usually if there are issues, these 10 items will flush them out really fast.

99% of the horses I deal with cannot do all 10 of these.

Many of them can’t even do 2 or 3 of them.

I believe it is absolutely critical that your horse can smoothly, calmly, and consistently do all of these.

If he’s lacking in any of them, it means there’s holes that can and will lead to bigger issues (if not now, then later on down the road).

Here is the 10 step groundwork checklist…

#1 Horse backs up when you lightly shake the lead rope
#2 Horse stays at least 6 feet behind you as you lead him
#3 The horse’s speed matches my speed – if I walk slow, the horse walks slow
#4 When I change direction from a standstill, the horse does not try to turn at the same time. He waits for me to get through the turn.
#5 The horse will back away from me as his front end is also stepping away
#6 The horse can yield his hind end while keeping his shoulders away from my space
#7 I can easily lunge the horse at a walk and trot
#8 When I change directions while lunging, the horse stays back away from me and reaches directly out to the side with his front feet without coming forward into my space as he changes directions
#9 I can be up above the horse and he will come underneath me and give me his back
#10 The horse stands still to be groomed, saddled, and mounted

Watch The Videos

Want to see step-by-step videos on how to train your horse to do all 10 of these checklist items? Log in to the Carson James Member site and complete the “Riding Fundamentals” online course.

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About The Author

Carson James

Carson James' background is in Vaquero Horsemanship. For the majority of his career, he worked on cattle ranches where he rode horses all day, every day. He was often in situations where he either had to figure out how to help the horse understand, or it could easily turn into a life or death situation. Carson now travels the country putting on training clinics teaching people the fundamentals of Horsemanship. He has a unique way of breaking things down where they're easy to understand, both for the horse and the human.