Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lunge lesson

So... After our lunging issues, I decided to get a lesson with Beth and see what the problem was. I wasn't sure if Danny was having balance issues or if he was having "whee, I'm gonna be free" issues. ;) 

So...we met up and as I was getting ready another horse that was loading up freaked out. We ended up spending close to 45 minutes helping the woman load her horse so Dan learned some patience... tied to the trailer. He stood like a good boy mostly and only pawed at the trailer once. 

We went into the ring and Beth wanted me to show her what I did so she could see the issue. I admit that I kind of rushed into it. But lo and behold that darn baby horse cantered around on both leads happy as a clam. little turd!! So then Beth said that she wanted to see what he did with her so she took over. As she was getting him started I mentioned to Peri "I kind of want him to be bad so she can see what he does and show me how to fix it". Doh!! Next thing we know Danny has bolted, lost Beth, and is galloping towards the trailers! He saw the rope at the last minute and managed to mostly jump it. He was fine, the rope... not so much. Luckily he was investigating Kelli's trailer so I caught him with no issues. So from now on... no more lunging without the line on the bit! He needs to stop getting away with getting away.

So we put him on the long parelli rope instead of the much longer lunge line and hooked the lead to the bit, rather than the noseband. He was a gentleman. Beth tried to put it back on his noseband but he knew the difference and was attempting to pull on her. So she said to leave it on the bit for now. He knows the difference and isn't even trying to pull so I wasn't going to harden his mouth. 

Then she worked him and he was good. She reiterated to me the things I need to be doing and had been slack about. And some things I just wasn't 100% on and was therefore doing them wrong. So... back to lunging basics! She said that we mostly want to lunge to work on the ground work and respect. It's not so much about the work as the mental work. And transitions within walk and trot will help strengthen him. She also said that the yielding of the hindquarters will really help strengthen him and help make him more even. I can do a few steps of canter both ways but because our line is shorter to not do too much. Plus then he gets excited and we need him to forget that he can get away! 

So... my reminders...
  • Be the hungry tiger!!! When I want him to stop and yield his hindquarters... put my whip down, look at his stifle (not his face), drop my body into the crouch, and step in a bit. As he stops, turns, AND crosses underneath himself, I back off. The trick is that he must cross over. I got better and better with my timing, but darned if I can't remember to look at his butt. Become the tiger... taste that yummy butt! ;)
  • Don't nag. He should trot when I say trot and trot until I tell him otherwise. No more constantly egging him on. Ask for the trot and if he breaks, rain down holy hell! Then calmly trot until I ask him to come down.
  • Use my whip and my body language and my voice. When asking him for an upward transition, move the whip at him. (not up and down, towards him, so front to back). For a downward transition, drop the whip. Before asking him to move upwards, sing "Danny" in an upward tone and the "And trot". To ask him to come down, sing "Danny" in a downward tone and then "Annnnnnd walk". Keep it consistent. 
  • While he's moving, keep the whip up and aimed at his butt. Don't keep waving it constantly. Don't drop it down. As long as he's supposed to be maintaining the gait, I need to maintain the whip.
  • Don't let him come in for rewards! That is MY space and he needs to stay out on the circle. I can use the whip to rub him and reward him. 
But he's a smart cookie and we'll both relearn it and be pro's before our next lesson. Now to just make sure I find time to work with him!

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