Montana horseman Jon Ensign uses groundwork to help his horses find balance throughout their body.

Jon Ensign, a horseman and clinician from Belgrade, Montana, says most training issues can be resolved by going back to the basics with groundwork.

Ensign shares how he uses groundwork to “retrain” horses to not set back in the September 2019 issue of Western Horseman.

The trainer, who studied under respected horsemen such as Ray Hunt and Buck Brannaman, says groundwork teaches a horse to be balanced, step equal with all four feet, and how to position their body.

“I’ll get them going with a bend,” says Ensign, afoot in a roundpen with a training flag. He walks in a circle toward the horse’s flank.

“I want the nose, the shoulder and the hip to all be on the same line. But it’s a bent line,” he says. “What that tells me is I have my horse reaching equal with all four feet.

“I find that it teaches a horse to give to pressure. They need to learn to yield to pressure.”

Learn more about Ensign at


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