First, backgroundwise, my girl is 10 yo pony of light cob/hackney type and was badly broken in a hurry and then was rough ridden by a boy (who frequently had the whip removed from him at ponyclub etc) so she has had a lot of bad habits - kicking, biting, bucking, bolting. Her nature is fairly dominant so rather than cower from ill treatment her attitude would be more "dont you DARE hit me!"
After 2 years I have a good relationship with her (partly because of Marecare's help which is why I flagged him on this thread) though she remains pretty much a one man horse and she can still take me by surprise.
I have never lunged her before as I have always thought of it as a fine dressage art but I am having trouble getting the time to keep her fit and someone suggested lunging her - not as a schooling excercise but just for fitness.
I tried it yesterday and didnt take a lunge whip as I know that would cause her huge amounts of stress but instead slapped the end of the rope on my boot when insisting on trot. She knew what she was doing and had clearly been lunged before. However when I insisted on trot she swung into the middle shaking her head and swung round again and lashed out. Wow! I stayed calm (tho shaking - I aint no bold cowgirl) took her head and walked her back out to the circumferance of the circle, got her walking calmly and then asked for trot again. She swung in, spun round and lashed out again. When she wasnt swinging in she was whizzing round in gallop with all her weight on the rope (i only weigh 8.5 stone) and her head at an awkward, unbalancing angle. I soothed her down with my voice to get her to slow down and stop. This was repeated many times. Eventually I got her going calmly and then switched directions where we repeated the whole process again. We finished up when all was well - to end on a good note.
This morning I lunged her again and she was still threatening in her ways at first but didnt actually lash out. I kept it brief and ended on a good note again.
What are your thoughts? Why is she behaving like this (my way with her is very quiet and soft, perhaps too soft) Am I handling this correctly? Should I just not lunge her? Also, without a lunge whip, how do you prevent the horse from coming in on the circle?