Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Practicing Lungeing

 Monday, I only lunged Lucky. I was pouring done rain all weekend, so Laura decided I would ride Wednesday instead. Since Lucky is a very sensitive horse, by lungeing her I can develop my lunging cues and position when lungeing her. Just by being a bit in front of the driveline, towards the middle of the horse where you stand when lungeing, Lucky will slow down. Laura was with me in the round pen to help and instruct me.

 Before starting, I stood beside Lucky, entry tossing the lunge whip over her back to make sure she would stand still and not be worried. When Laura got her, Lucky was afraid of whips. She's fine now, but it's good practice even if a horse is totally fine with them. Lucky didn't move at all, so I moved my left hand to the side to point her forward and gently tapped her shoulder to push her out on the circle. At first I struggled with finding the right position on the ground and staying there. I kept getting far in front of the driveline, which of course slowed her done. As she walked around me, I tried asking for a bigger walk and then for the trot. I did this by gaining more energy in my body, looking where I wanted her to go, and clucking, tapping the whip on the ground when necessary to reinforce this.

  I did lots of transitions because Laura does a lot of them to teach the horse to stay balanced as the gait changes. To return to the walk I relaxed in my body and gave slight squeezes to the lunge line when I needed to. I also changed Lucky's directions multiple times. To do this I pointed to Lucky's hip with the hand my rope was in, shortened the rope, and took a step back to encourage Lucky to draw into me. It took a while for me to get this coordinated, but I had a nice one at the end. Laura lunged her afterward with the side reins, and I stayed in the round pen to watch what Laura does more closely.

 I also lunged BB, the palomino mule, doing the same thing I did with Lucky. I sometimes had to tap BB's shoulder when she leaned in a bit,  and I actually started to notice thee subtle changes without being told. There were also a couple times when BB glanced towards us and offered to come in towards us. Knowing that BB was ready to listen, Laura said to watch for these moments and simple back off without pointing towards BB's hips to turn them. Sure enough, BB walked toward me when I invited her in.Laura said that I have good natural intuition("feel" as it is sometimes called) with horses, even if don't know a lot. I  just need to learn how develop it and use it.

 It was really great to be able to feel some of these moments and to practice lungeing. Lunging is a great and useful technique to learn and can help the under saddle things, too, as I have learned. Also, update n the mule that the vet came to see: the had an inflamed tendon sheath, which covers the tendon, and is now back to work. It was only a minor injury.

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