Connected groundwork

The weather here today is wonderful! It’s in the 60’s, overcast with a very slight breeze on the cool side. If only we had more days like that here but I imagine by Halloween we will be cold with freezing rain. So I’m taking it and running with it.

Hubby is home so after taking care of home errands and getting daughter by the bookstore, we headed out to Z. Hubby did a little work on her front feet as they were starting to chip and I wanted him to get a nicer roll on the front. For the first time, she looks like she has HORSE feet and not little baby hooves.

Her head also seems to have matured over the last few months and I’ve had to change settings on the sidepull to accomodate a larger throatlatch and longer nose. Her hips have gotten a bit higher then her front, so I think she may even gain some more height (withers will rise up after hips). Fingers crossed on every quarter inch I can get.

I hand grazed her for a bit while we talked. I spent a lot of time with Dear One when it was just us two, but the years of owning multiple horses meant less one on one for each horse. Now I have some time back to spend with Z.

Afterwards, we did some of Peggy Cummings Connected Groundwork exercises. Peggy comes from a background of Centered Riding (Sally Swift) and TTeam (Linda Tellington-Jones) so I’ve been interested in some time in trying out some of her exercises. Her work of relaxing the horse downward and throughout the body is also work that would synch well with the exercises by Mark Russell. If you are familiar with Wendy Murdoch’s riders’ body work, this would also be compatible.

Unfortunately, since she is not scheduled for a clinic anywhere close to me, I have to make due with videos and her book. I did buy her speciality halter as it has different adjustments on the throatlatch, poll and noseband then a regular halter. Since Z’s head was still growing, this was also helpful to have something that could adjust. BTW Z is wearing a medium and she is on the first hole.


I wanted to do the exercises with hubby giving me direction from the book, and providing any coaching and correction. I have to say that it was far more difficult then I was expecting but that’s okay. What I notice with the above is that because I am used to working with a completely slack line, it’s hard to remember to keep the tension! Okay duh! keep tension! Just a bit more practice and I can tell what my right hand is doing with my left! LOL!

The first 2 exercises are leading exercises done with both hands and using the line over the nose:

Starting on: It’s a step forward, step back with a slide in/out on the inside line before starting;

Slide in and slide out: It’s a one hand slide up to the noseband, pause with a bit of tension (Pulling the Bow) and slide out.

The second part with the bodywork I felt more assured and comfortable with having done much of it with the TTouch (part of TTeam).

Cheek Press: Very hard on Z to do because it requires release in the poll where she holds tension.

Cheek Delineation: Z liked this exercise a lot. We were doing it at standstill but eventually when I get coordinated we will try during the walking work.

Caterpiller: A little more concentration but very similar to a TTouch exercise such as Zig-Zag TTouch.

Chin Rest: letting the horse relax their chin into your supporting hand.

I took her over to the spooky area of the lawn where panthers worked and was able to get her to walk around- not fully connected but that was okay. We are both learning and I deliberately put her in a challenging situation.

These will be some fun things to do with Z when we are off from riding. Also, it should help with her bracing on the right side in her neck and provide some release from her poll.

This entry was posted in hooves, Linda Tellington-Jones TTEAM, Mark Russell RIL, Peggy Cummings CG, Z. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Connected groundwork

  1. Muhammad Rohan Sheikh says:

    I was wondering if you can show us some exercises from KFH’s latest book, The Horse Seeks Me and his riding techniques in a video if that is possible?

    • horseideology says:

      Hi Rohan.
      Ah you give me too much credit! 🙂
      I haven’t gotten his latest book yet – it just came out in the U.S a bit later then the Europe release. I will get it next month and get up to speed.

      I usually do more of his leading techniques. I did take Z and the pony on a lot of long walks which I think helped Z a lot. It’s definitely where I would start is with the leading that he outlined in his first book. That covers his three leading positions, and on my videos you will see that I do a lot of leading from behind with Z (and her dominance is why).

      I do have only one video up with the neck rope. I was just thinking that I might get back to that with Z in order to do more work with her mimicking which I do feel more comfortable doing then the Connected work.

      Do a search on Youtube for “neckrope” or “cordeo” and you will see some awesome work.

    • horseideology says:

      Hi Rohan
      An earlier post about using the neckrope in a larger arena.

      I definitely would not move onto to the riding stage until the neckrope is working consistently. I notice that seems to be (haven’t trained under Hempfling but this seems logical from his books and videos) that he does this first, before doing the mounted work.

      Information about the Hempfling Zones

      Leading from Behind with pony

      This is one of my favorite videos of working Big Guy. Here I am teaching him a half halt; I bookmarked it here for you as it involves some basic mimicry with body positions that is similar to Hempflings ideas:

  2. Muhammad Rohan Sheikh says:

    Thank you alot! Your videos are amazing esp. the one you did on Half Halt. I am from Pakistan and have very few people around me who love horses and even fewer horses. I am here to learn as much as I can and I do that by reading and watching videos. Most of the time I have questions that pop up and because I am not from a place that love horses, my questions can feel a bit weird. I apologize in advance if at some point you feel as if I am contradicting to your ideas or what you are doing! It is just limited to the questions and is there for learning more!

    I had read in your last two posts about Carolyn not having course for Ridden work. Well, she is going to launch Riding at Liberty in her webzine and it can be purchased. It is a series of 20 chapters. and this is chapter no.1 . I myself have seen students from my circle being coached on bridleless riding, which is riding without any tack at all, by Carolyn. I know a student who is being taught things totally different than what I am being taught. And what I like about her program is the program is dynamic. She moulds the lessons according to the students present in the class. Her video coachings(which I miss because I dont have a horse to practice the Waterhole Rituals 😦 ) is where she treats all the students dynamically. Some students post videos showing their progress on the Rituals and some, like the student I know, post videos showing their progress on Riding at Liberty or Bridleless Riding as Carolyn calls it. She does say if the horse listens to you from ground then he will listen to you when you are in saddle too. I know a man from my class who is Argentina and has attended Klaus school and Carolyn Insider Circle both. He says both ways are similar.

    I am not here to teach anyone or to judge who is right or wrong. I love your blog because you follow KFH and I want to learn from all who know more than me. I thought I would just share what I had in my knowledge and I dont mean to cause any unrest in anybody’s heart! 🙂

    I also want to ask you that I heard in the book, KFH says he doesnt like round pen approaches. He says a Picadero is better. Have you tried the Picadero any time?

    • horseideology says:

      Hi Rohan
      That is great that Carolyn is expanding her teachings into riding. I am glad for that. I have personal reasons why I prefer Hempfling, but if Carolyn works for you, do what makes sense!

      I have done the Insider Circle with Carolyn, and JMO but it was not helpful for my situation. That is me though, and each person has someone who “speaks” to their heart on how they think a horse-human interaction should be.

      Don’t worry about asking foolish questions. I will answer to the best of my ability. I wish I had seen Hempfling in person, but that is not possible with me in the states – so what I do is my interpretation of what he presents which may not be totally accurate. I put that disclaimer here as some trainers are very touchy about their methods being used by others.

      Bridleless riding is being done by many people – and Linda Tellington-Jones was doing it before a crowd – and JUMPING without a bridle over 30 years ago. If you are interested in bridleless definitely check out the Natural Dressage website and videos on Youtube. There are some amazing people doing great stuff and probably more advanced in riding then I am.

      • Muhammad Rohan Sheikh says:

        Let me say that my dream is to learn KFH’s ways but due to lack of funds, I am not even able to afford his books. I was not sure if it was the right thing to buy his books when I had the choice to select between the KFH Books and Carolyn’s Insider Circle. I thought it was best to be coached by a person. I also wanted to attend KFH’s one year school but that is way expensive! 😦 I hope someday if he sees my videos and thinks I may be worthy of scholarship, I will definately travel to Denmark.

      • horseideology says:

        Hi Rohan
        We are all faced with our limitations due to money! We do what we can with what we have so don’t apologize for it.

        Carolyn is okay and you can learn from it – don’t get me wrong. Just don’t be seduced though by the mumbo-jumbo mysticism. A lot of these “new” horse people following a “natural” path use too much showmanship to convince people that their method is the ONLY method. It is not.

    • horseideology says:

      Roundpen vs. Picadero.

      With a beginner the roundpen is definitely easier to work in. There are no “corners” for a horse to get stuck in which can cause some horses to sandwich their head into the corner, and put their backside to kick you (in the center).

      The Picadero makes the horse work harder as it has to go straight, then bend in the corner, then go straight. In a roundpen the horse is constantly on a curve which can cause some to get sloppy and lean on the their inside shoulder or brace against the bend.

      If I had my own place I would use a Picadero just because it would be more dynamic place to work the horse and to eventually ride in. However, I have made due with roundpens at every place we have boarded and as long as the roundpen is LARGE ENOUGH (big reason why they don’t work is they are made too small), it’s quite okay IMO.

  3. Pingback: Productive pain (bodywork) « Horse Ideology

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