Six Feet on the Ground was developed by North American Western Dressage, to promote in-hand groundwork using a progressive system of tests for practice, training, and competition. Six Feet on the Ground emphasizes the principles of the training scale, which are applicable to every discipline, and provides a working model for success prior to getting in the saddle. Working with your horse on the ground is the first step in developing a strong partnership. Not all horses can be ridden, and not all horse owners want to ride. Programs like Six Feet on the Ground encourage horse owners to explore different ways to interact with their horses besides just riding.

There are many different ways that people train their horses on the ground, and this program allows you freedom and flexibility to work with your horse in the way that is most effective for you. Six Feet on the Ground is NOT a showmanship class. Scores are not based on where you stand, how you hold the lead, or how much bling is on your halter or clothing.

There are nine tests, each with a series of movements that are appropriate for the level. Much like a dressage test, each movement is given a score of 0 to 10, based on how well the movement was performed. There are also a set of collective marks awarded at the end of the test for both the horse (gaits, suppleness, relaxation, etc.) and the handler (connection, timing, lightness, accuracy, etc.) The final score is reported as a percentage of available points earned. Download the tests at the North American Western Dressage website and start practicing at home, then decide which test(s) you’d like to perform at the show.

Six Feet on the Grounds classes will be held on Saturday 8/3 starting at 9am. If you’re already entering the show with your riding horse, we hope you’ll give this a try! And if you have a companion horse at home that dreams of the show ring, this might be the perfect way to start or get back to competition. We also offer in hand classes in Halter and Showmanship, and our trails course can be competed on in hand as well!