LUNGING FOR ENERGY:
Let me start off by saying that my horse is pretty solid overall. He is respectful and he tries for me. We’ve done some pretty cool things together, had some adventures and won some stuff. I’ve had kinds and novices on him. Like I said, pretty solid. However, the Lunging for Energy exercise proved pretty tough for him to grasp. The escalation part he owned. The deceleration part, not so much. Why? Well. It is TOTALLY MY FAULT. I have never really used this approach when lunging before. It has always been about either stepping in front of his shoulder to create a redirection or looking at his hindquarters to create a yield/stop. We also have dome some cues with the lead rope. So working strictly from body energy and body position (you HAVE to be in the right position or else the singles become unclear) was a bit like listening to someone speak English, with a heavy accent. Some words get lost in the execution and translation. We hit some points of frustration to be sure. We both got a bit sweaty too. It has taken us about three sessions to get into the groove of this exercise. Quitting on a win…that is the ticket. If it was better than the last session, and better than when we started we quit and do something else.
Today we got two really nice downward transitions on both sides (he is more sensitive to position on his left side so I had to be very mindful of that) and we called the exercise done for the day and did some other fun stuff.
The lesson is this; BE MINDFUL of your energy and your position. Be consistent with energy, position and cues. Be patient and be clear. If things don’t go perfectly BREATHE, reset and try again. Scott and Grace do make it look easy but you CAN do it. Just listen to what your horse is telling you, and be clear in what you are telling your horse. Under saddle I can already see more awareness of my energy in our transitions, which is pretty cool.
Have a great weekend everyone!