I’m sure everyone has areas with their horse that need work, even though it may seem completely ordinary to someone else. For the entire time I’ve had Caesar, that has been lunging.
I never really have a need to lunge Caesar except for when the vet’s out and at shows, but there have certainly been times where I’ve been embarrassed because he acts like he’s never been put on the line before. As polite as he can be under saddle, for some reason he’s just never liked lunging at all and will let me know that he’s not enjoying his time being on the lunge line. Because of this, I’ve been lightly lunging him to try to work on his manners. The main things I’ve worked on with him were:
-not trying to drag me on the line
-not turning into me when he thinks he should be done as well as not turning into me when I actually ask him to stop
-walking on the line (instead of just trotting and cantering)
-responding when I ask him to downward transition.
Right away when I brought him up to the barn today to groom and boot his boots on, I noticed he was in a very good mood. I walked him down to the arena and he seemed pretty happy and content.
I could go into all the gritty details but I don’t want to bore you guys too much, so I’ll just summarize: he was such a polite gentleman on the lunge today that he seriously made me so proud. I didn’t lunge him long, only fifteen minutes, and I certainly wasn’t lunging with the intent to tire him but just to take a look at his gaits from the ground as well as work on his manners. In addition to lunging in a stationary circle, I also kept him moving while I moved around the arena (keeping him on an even circle around me) as well as really worked on his promptness to downward transitions. I did notice that he seemed stiff in the right hind which is something my chiropractor picked up on, which I figured because he stopped switching his lead in the right hind and would only switch the front, something he never used to do before. He’ll need to be adjusted again so I might go ahead and give the chiro another call.
I know that most people think lunging is just an ordinary ordeal and nothing special, and for most horses, it is. But all horses have their quirks and things they don’t like to do, so this was a big accomplishment for Mr. Caesar. What some people may think of as “little” accomplishments may actually be big accomplishments for some people/horses. This is also another example on how sometimes, our horses can make us extremely proud even while out of the saddle. 🙂 Oh, and I went to the tack store the other day to get some more Stud Muffins, his favorite treats, and they only had the huge 60 oz containers. Caesar was okay with that.