March 14, 2010

Free Lunging

I'm not a fan of working young horses seven days a week.  I enjoy a break and I believe they do too.  After Shae's incredible work on Friday, I gave him Saturday off.  It was raining and he couldn't go outside, but at least it was a break from our daily lessons.  That meant that today he was more than ready to get out of his stall and was a lit fuse as we walked down to the indoor.  For this reason, I started out with lunging today.

To my delight, he was forward, happy and content.  He moved off into all three gaits with only voice commands and came down equally as easily.  I don't believe he's very intelligent or eager to please in order to make humans happy, but he's so sensitive to humans that I think he has an easier time detecting changes in tones of voice, for example, than most horses.  Our next problem is going to be getting him to go in a circle - he throws his shoulder out and stops at the canter.

I ground drove him a bit after that.  He's very calm and respectful at the walk, but it's like his brain scatters at the trot and he gets very "up" and excited and doesn't pay as close attention.  The voice commands have paid off here, too, and I only have to slap him with the lines once before he moves off.

Finally, at the end of the lesson, I left his equipment on but turned him loose to move at liberty in the indoor.  He deserved it.  When I noticed he was paying close attention to me, I stood in the middle of one half of the indoor with a lunge whip and attempted to free lunge him.  I was very surprised to see that I had complete control over him and his undivided attention despite the fact that he was at liberty in the whole arena.  I asked for the walk, trot and canter and he willingly and instantly gave me each one. 

I'm not sure what tomorrow will hold for him, we're still working out who is going to mount each day, but by Tuesday I'll be riding him.

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