dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lunging Work

I was off on Monday as well. My friend Cynthia came out to ride Irish and brought a mutual friend Barb. Barb hadn't met my horses yet and wanted to come and see our place. She took the pictures below. 

We brought in the horses to get them ready. Carmen was very good in the cross ties, except when it came to picking out her feet. She decided that I was holding them too long and should.let.go. NOW. Which means, of course, that I hang on longer and kept picking up her feet and holding them until she realized that it wasn't her decision to make but mine. My horses must behave for the farrier so I will do what I need to in order not alienate him. 

I took her out and up to the ring. I wondered if she would mind leaving Irish but she seemed okay with it. We started off with leading work. I led her around from either side, started, stopped, sped up, slowed down, changed direction and just generally was unpredictable. Her job was to follow me, stay out of my space and pay attention.She did very well. Even when Irish came up she stayed focussed. 
Cynthia mounted and walked off and I stood there as Irish went by. She didn't move a muscle. 
here I am leading her on the off side. She didn't mind. 
I love this'what do you want' face

look at that reach

We started lunging. I wanted to focus on response to my commands- walk, trot, canter, whoa. There ware good moments and bad moments. Our trot-walk and halt-walk needs work. I believed that she genuinely didn't know what I was asking (again how I was asking or my accent), so I treated it like she had never been lunged before and showed her what I wanted. After about 15 minutes she walked off from the halt (rather than trot) and I praised her profusely. She likes praise. I fell in love with the rhythm of her trot. It stayed so regular even when she was a bit excited.
see- she can walk! 

me giving some encouragement. Carmen is clearly thinking here. 
The canter was a bit excited at first. She wanted to canter off from the tarp laying on the ground on the corner. After being pulled a few times up the ring I realized that I needed to cue her sooner to not run out of the circle. I started gently reminding her (with tugs) to stay with me and it worked very well.
and CANTER! 

look at that lovely square halt
We finished with me bring out a small step stool. I wanted her to stand by it and not move away. I don't like moving the block to the horse, I prefer to be able to move the horse to the block. After a few trials I could climb up, lean over her and jump down and she stayed. 
getting a pat for good work
After I walked her out of the ring to eat the grass that is starting to come in. Cynthia rode Irish by and back to the barn (in case you wondering Irish was a star too). I was ready to discuss with Carmen that she needed to stay with me and not follow but I needn't have worried. She could have cared less. At first I thought it was the grass but even when I led her back down she moseyed beside me like a seasoned horse. I remembered that Warwick Schiller says that a horse doesn't experience separation anxiety if they have a leader (or something like that). I'm thinking that's what was happening here.

I love that our third time in the ring went so well. I'm getting excited to get on her. Can you tell?


  1. One of the things you might try when she yanks her foot away that I learned in the Masterson bodywork course: If you release when the horse fights or goes into a brace, then they have nothing to brace against and will relax. You don't let go of the foot but you follow it, and with nothing to pull against she should relax and give. Just a thought. I tried it with Lucy and it worked well. She doesn't yank at all anymore.

    1. yes I agree. that is what I do- I go with her enough so she can't fight but I don't let go.

  2. I love that you take your time and really instill the basics with your horses. Carmen is lovely! What a nice looking mare. Sounds like things are going well!

    1. thank you- I have learned that it's worth it in the long run.

  3. I love reading your posts about Carmen. She's a beauty.

  4. Yes I'm excited too! I don't know how you can stand to wait, but I totally understand your reasoning for it. You're doing great work with her and I love reading about all of it. I love the pictures too! :)


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