Luckily for him, while in Kansas learning animal chiropractic, we talked about biomechanics. They suggested that the best thing to get a horse using himself properly was to lunge them on a hill and rate their speed. That way they have to engage their hineys and work properly, over their topline. Cool!! We also talked about cross cantering and they said that perhaps he needed an adjustment. And we talked about how keeping them adjusted as they grew was fantastic!!! If we wait til they're old and really out, there's all sorts of compensations and muscle memory that becomes learned. So... I had Dr. Heidi do Dan while she was out. He was so good for it! He even let her do his occiput! Which was out. Go figure... perhaps when he was flinging his head around and fell. ;) I was very proud of him.
Then today I went for a trail ride with Liz and Cindy and Cindy and I got there early to mess with the babies. I put Danny's rope halter on him and realized Wyatt had chewed it. Almost into pieces. Sigh. So I had to tape it up. But now it's extra cool because it's navy and white. :)
Anyways, we headed out to the XC field and I was aiming to do some lunging on the hill. You know, because I'm a good student and learn. :) I started off and Cindy was watching and starting yelling things to me. She showed me what she meant and wow.. it makes total sense. So... here's my guide to lunging!
- Hold the lunge line like a rein. You can even half halt with it.
- Stand behind him so I'm driving him forward. And walk forward while I'm lunging so that I am pushing him forward from behind. Then he always goes forward and I don't have to nag.
- Don't nag.
- Watch his inside hock and drive that forward with my legs and eyes.
- I can control the circle width by driving him by walking forward.
- He should respond pretty instantly.
- When I want him to change direction, I should catch his eye, walk in front of him, and then back up. He should come towards me when I back up and then change direction fluidly, in a figure 8 type pattern.
- When I do all this, he starts to move beautifully. He supples his topline, he reaches over his back, he softens the underside of his neck and starts getting prancy! And his stride gets bigger and he starts over striding.
It was awesome!! He was very respectful and managable and man... that trot!!! Even when we cantered he was much more balanced and wasn't cross cantering hardly at all. Even on the hill he looked better. Then I was able to drive him over the little logs (once I figured out my depth perception ;) HA!). We even went in and out of the water via the bank happily!! And he used to hesitate at that.
I'm so proud of the little guy! He really is super. And bless his heart.. because I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm trying to not change the rules on him too much, but there is always stuff to learn. Good thing he's an easy going dude. :)