I recently watched one of Mark Rashid’s DVDs, Ground Driving 101
, after renting it from Giddyupflix. I was interested in watching this DVD because I love Mark Rashid’s books and would like to start with some ground driving work with a few of the rescue horses. Overall, I was not very impressed with this DVD.
The DVD, which is about an hour and a half, starts out by covering why ground driving is important, the basic tools and equipment, how to use the rope to create “energy,” and the basics of desensitizing the horse to the rope. Mark Rashid does a great job of covering how to desensitize your horse and get him use to the ropes. This is essential for your horse to be comfortable with ground driving or long lining.
First, Mark discusses touching and rubbing your horse all over his body with the coiled rope. Then, Mark gets the horse use to the pressure of the rope. He practices leading the horse from a loop of rope around a foreleg or hind leg. He also tosses the rope around the horse’s hindquarters and “unwinds” the horse. These exercises are important so that the horse knows how to move away from the pressure of the rope, both for ground driving and in case the horse ever gets caught in the rope.
Mark Rashid then demonstrates lunging and discusses how lunging helps build the skills needed for ground driving. Then DVD then covers ground driving in a circle, ground driving to targets, and ground driving with a bit. The final short section discusses how to make your own lead ropes and long lines.
The actual ground driving parts of the DVD (in a circle, to targets and with a bit) are quite short, taking up a little less than half an hour all together. My main problem with the DVD is that the horse Mark Rashid is working with throughout the DVD already is experienced with the longing and ground driving exercises shown in the DVD. There is a huge difference in watching a horse who already knows what to do and watching a trainer work through the teaching process and common problems with a horse that is new to an exercise such a ground driving. By using an experienced horse, the DVD is more a discussion and testament to Mark Rashid’s interpretation of ground driving, rather than an instructional DVD.
Also, I was not at all impressed with the driving to targets part of the DVD. Mark Rashid uses this exercise to start practicing driving in straight lines and to give the ground driving a purpose. The horse looks noticeably stressed on several occasions during this segment. She can’t quite figure out what is being ask and tries different possibilities such as backwards or sideways before figuring out exactly where she’s suppose to be standing. She seems confused about what exactly she’s suppose to do. Towards the end the mare seems to get the hang of it. There really isn’t any reward for the mare doing the right thing, which is one reason it takes her awhile to figure it out.
I wouldn’t recommend buying this DVD if you’re looking for resources on ground driving. The DVD is interesting to watch, but lacks a easy to follow, step by step approach. Also, it’s harder to understand the teaching process since the horse has already been exposed to longing and ground driving. I love reading Mark Rashid’s books and have heard good things about his DVDs. I still plan to watch a few of his other DVDs to see if I like them better.