August 2, 2010

Free lunging finally!

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Kasane finally figured out what free lunging really is today. It doesn’t mean that I chase her around the ring while she stops in each corner to graze until I can catch up with her. Even if the grass in the corners looks so enticing.

The first time I tried free lunging her was after she had watched Isis free lunge in the big ring. I brought Kasane into the ring, let her loose, and ripped around the ring. Not productive. Once she calmed down, I put her on the lunge line. When I lunge in the big ring (without a saddle or bridle), I’ll often travel the entire length of the ring: circle at one spot, travel farther down the arena, circle again, and repeat. This way we’re moving all the way around the ring so the horse doesn’t get bored. Kasane was fine at a walk, but when I tried to trot with her a length down the ring to continue into the next circle, she bolted. We recovered and worked through it. If I trot next to her, she gets nervous if I am at her shoulder or ahead. If I stay mostly behind her shoulder where I should be, she’s fine. This only happens going clockwise and not counter clockwise.

Over the past week, I’ve been working on getting her to free lunge in the big ring. Usually I start off by letting her run around and offer to let her free lunge with me. Instead she runs off and grazes while I do a pathetic version of keeping up with her. Each day, the amount of time she canters or gallops around has lessened. When she keeps going into the corners and grazing, out comes the lunge line and we do a quick review of gaits and paying attention to where I am. The lunge line is then taken off and we practise her walking as if she was still being lunged. Usually that works well so long as I don’t go faster than a walk.

For the first time, she actually lunged around me and kept pace with the gait I asked for from the beginning. She never had to have the lunge line on her this time! We did walk and trot really well. Canter took a little bit more guidance, but she did get it. Amazing she figured this out on the third time. 🙂

I was so tickled with her. And such a gorgeous day! No clouds in the sky and mild weather. Lovely fall day with the daylight hours of summer. Perfect!

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