Looking for books on ground work + starting

I am looking for book recommendations on groundwork and starting for yearlings and up.

I just bought a 2yo Ottb I’d like to do groundwork with. I won’t be riding him for about 6 months + while he grows more.

And my yearling will be coming home in the Spring.
In all my years of horses I’ve never trained a baby, and I’ll admit I don’t know a lot when it comes to more extensive ground work. My hope is that when it comes time to back these youngsters it will make it smoother. :cowboy_hat_face::woman_shrugging:t3:

All the well known long term commercial “horse trainers” have books out on this subject, choose your poison. John Lyons, Monty Roberts, whatever suits you. Basically, it’s just establishing trust and two way communication skills between you and the horse, creating the beginnings of a bond and mutual understanding, keeping in mind the classical training scale, focusing on the very beginnings of that… free forward relaxed motion. Recognizing the “try”, and rewarding for the right choices. The books available should give you some ideas about what might be suitable goals to pursue with the work you do with the horse, keeping in mind how a horse thinks and how that is influenced by what he knows already in his life. It’s not rocket science.


Always remember: Every. Single. Time. you handle your babies, you’re teaching them something.
Please work with someone who knows OTTBs. They are very different and may require more than six months to come down off their track training.

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Actually this is my 7 or 8th ottb . I mentioned the 6 month thing so readers know I’m not going to get on him tomorrow!
And you’re totally right- I’ve had some that required little to no down time, and others that needed more than a year.
I would like to keep handling him during his down time, therefore looking for ideas :slight_smile:

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“Bring up Baby” - John Lyons
“Right From the Start” - Michael Schaeffer
“The Truth About Horses” - Andrew McLean

And for lunging/longlining, Cherry Hill’s “101 Longeing and Long Lining Exercises”

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Love this one. It really does work for just about everyone.

After that, you might try Claire Lillie’s Schooling with Ground Poles. Very good for cultivating attention and focus.


John Lyons " Bringing Up Baby" is one that comes to mind. I have it and it was very helpful and easy to follow and I am very experienced with young horses.

My fave is by Harry Llewellyn: Training Hunters Jumpers and Hacks.

Also a thoughtful read is Schooling For Young Riders by John Richard Young Not a specific handbook, but great insight and compelling writing.

I think Buck Branaman’s Groundwork is nice.
I am sure John Lyons makes it more accessible.

When I started my gelding over 20 years ago, I read John Lyons and Monty Roberts and basically did everything those two books said. My horse grew up to be confident, calm and trusting. All that ground work gave me a horse that I can take into any situation and trust him to get me out of it. He has saved my butt from disaster a few times and I’m certain it’s because we established such trust with all that ground work. One thing I learned through that ground work is to really listen to when your horse says no. My old-school trainer used to say a horse should do anything you ask of them but I disagree. If my horse is adamant that he doesn’t want to do something, I trust he has his reasons and we find a workaround.

I might have a few kicking around, let me look tonight and see. I’d be willing to send them on to you.

Thank you so much :blush: