I do dressage and trail riding, I’m in a self board recreational barn where some folks do various kinds of stuff on the ground, and others dismiss all that until they run into trouble with a new horse. So I’m not in a h/j world.
I should preface this all by saying that I still enjoy riding the most, that I’m a decent rider, ride almost every day, I am not in the lead and feed brigade :).
Anyhow, I do several different kinds of things on the ground. I do what I think of as Western based groundwork. That includes obstacles, manners, standing and waiting while I walk away, coming with a whistle, moving over from a light touch, backing. Idea is to be quiet calm and get the lightest cue possible, even a finger wiggle.
Then I also do a little longeing, but it’s not a big part of things and I do it to check energy level and obedience to voice cues. If the horse is flying like a kite they get turnout to burn it off. I don’t do rodeo longeing. Too much potential for injury.
I do like longeing square w/t and longeing up and down the arena. It gets out of wearing that little circle in the footing.
I have a lightweight longeing cavesson that fits under a bridle but actually end up just using a rope halter mostly.
I like liberty work. My main mare will not lock on and longe reliably with no rope, she tends to run to the other end of the arena, but the last two green horses picked it up right away and longe w t c halt on voice cues around me in a 20 meter circle in a larger arena. I prefer this to longeing since they can vary the track if they need to and if they do want to buck they don’t hit the end of the line.
I also do formal dressage inhand work with flexion, lateral work, first the shoulder in family and then the half pass family. I do this in a snaffle formally and in a rope halter mixed with other ground work.
And I do clicker training mostly for tricks.
Right now I have one really solid riding horse and one green horse we are starting under saddle. The riding horse gets attended turnout as she likes to have a big buck n run session about once a week. She loves her clicker tricks so we run through her repertoire every now and then. She adores the obstacle play night we have once a week and if I’m at the barn that late I take her in. I rarely longe her, but did when I started with her 10 years ago.
The green mare gets a full menu of groundwork, including long walks on the trails with other horses and alone. She is too wired up about treats to incorporate clicker in her formal training at this point, but she is learning to play fetch.
I think it’s also useful that we have self board in stalls with runouts, and no cross ties. We end up feeding, cleaning, and tacking up with the horse in the stall. So we are constantly asking the horse to move over, back up, etc. They all get used to it just fine, even OTTB!
I have found groundwork really easy with these horses, but it requires being fully attentive to the horse. When I went back to h/j lessons 15 years ago I felt like I was perhaps being a little childish (from the otherwise excellent coach’s perspective) in my attention to the lesson horses moods and posture and attention on me. But I decided to just continue noticing and channeling my inner 11 year old. I ended up after a while at this self board barn with an excellent coach and mentor for both riding and horse skills. She could see subtle lameness, the attitude shifts, etc and we could chat about them. My observational skills became really useful in developing good timing in groundwork.
Anyhow, good groundwork involves getting into a zone with your horse, and then expanding that zone so it takes on all your interactions with him. You can’t teach something in groundwork and then ignore it an hour later because you need to meet some outside expectation.