Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Learning to Lunge with Laura and Meeting Lucky

 Tuesday, when working with Laura, I learned how to actually do the lunging. Laura lunged BB first, demonstrating how it looks when a horse/mule in trotting in balance, with their head down as if on a stretchy circle. I was able to see how when a horse/mule is balanced without tension, their loin area springs up and down. It's fascinating to watch. Laura also demonstrated one of the basics of what she does with equines–being able to direct their attention where you want. If you direct their mind somewhere, their feet will follow. She showed me how she can select an object, then gently nudge BB's head toward that object to get her to focus. She then let me try the same thing. This concept is important, especially when I learned to lunged, which I soon did.

 Once I put BB away, I brought Dyna to the round pen, and Laura demonstrated another piece needed for lunging: being able to move the equine's feet. She showed how he can walk toward Dyna's hindquarters to get her to do a turn on the forehand. Then she showed how she can direct dyna's attention to the way she wants Dyna to go, say the right, face Dyna's left should, and get Dyna to turn on her hindquarters. Once I practiced the same thing, she put it together into lunging.

Dyna in the evening sun.
 She started with Dyna facing her, directing her attention the way she wanted, and then have Dyna move her shoulder and go around in a circle. When lunging, she did this without moving her feet because with equines, the one who moves first is lower ranked. to turn Dyna around, she shortens the rope, pointing the whip, which is an extension of the arm, not a punishment, towards Dyna's hindquarters to get Dyna to face her, then switches to lead rope to the other and points toward Dyna's shoulder and directs her attention to the new direction. She does this fluidly. To get Dyna to walk on, she gets more energy in her body and Dyna walks. To trot, she increases her energy and gets the rhythm of the trot her body.

 Then I tried. I was uncoordinated at first, and it took me a while to find the right way to ask for trot without being too energetic and without stepping in front of the drive line, the part of the horse's body you stand next when you lunge, which is right where you sit when riding. it felt really amazing when I got a great trot transition and a smooth change of directions.
Clipping Lucky's muzzle and jaw.

 Next I met Lucky, the mare I will be riding. Lucky is a 17 year old bay Hanoverian/Thoroughbred that was once a jumper in Southern California. She had a few problems and emotional baggage, but Laura took her and began training her about eight years ago. Lucky is a really nice, well behaved mare now. Since she has been out in the pasture for a while, we took her out, gave her a nice grooming(I even clipped her muzzle), and Laura lunged her at liberty, meaning without any tack–no halter or lunge line/lead rope. Lucky was a bit frisky, but otherwise really nice. After working her for a bit, Laura let me come in. First Laura turned Lucky's haunches and front just like she had done with Dyna, with me following. Then I did the same thing, turning her around, then walking a few steps away from her, with Lucky following as if I had an invisible alter and lead. It is really extraordinary and I love how I can learn to build a connection with horses rather than ride and leave.


  1. sounds like you're catching on fast - how exciting!! Lucky seems neat too :)

  2. laura sounds like an absolutely lovely teacher/mentor for you. such an amazing opportunity for you!

  3. Lunging is definitely a skill that needs to be practiced -- which I recently found out myself!


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