oh funny Endiku! I was thinking the same thing, just start her over like she doesn't know anything. She does sort of know how to lunge, sort of, she doesn't know voice commands at all though. I think maybe she was trained by a Spanish trainer, we tried Spanish verbal commands and she sort of listens to them a little better - but I'm sure my sloppy Spanish isn't accurate.
How do you suggest helping them relax at each gait I really like that idea but I'm not sure how to go about doing that? I have a friend who does massage therapy in horses maybe she could give her a massage before I work her?
As for picking up the correct lead and such - I'm not too concerned. I realize this is going to be a very long project, but I'm hoping to use it to help the little girl who loves her learn some stuff on training and have some quality bonding time with her favorite pony. When we get to the point where we'll ride her even still I'm not concerned about fine tuning this horse, she's really just here for this girl to love all over. She'll be at our rescue for life and this girl can work with her on whatever she wants to work on her with for whatever purpose they choose and I'm just here to help them on that path.
We do notice that she has NO idea where she's putting her feet so we've begun some ground pole exercises to get her to pick them up and pay attention to where they're landing. Any suggestions for any interesting ground pole exercises besides just walking over them again and again?
Really its just going to depend on your horse, but a key thing to do is to get their attention off of 'go' and onto you and what you're asking them to do. How? It has everything to do with respect and trust. Since horses are herd animals, they either need someone to take charge and stay in charge or they need to take over themselves. Its when they take over themselves that they begin to get nervous, don't want to listen to you, and start acting out. Establishing a good trust relationship where the animal realizes that you are the herd leader and that when you're asking them to do something its for the best is how you're going to get the best results and the animal will begin to listen, quiet down, and get down to the job at hand rather than worry and fuss. Gaining trust, ofcourse- takes time, but it also takes firmness. Lots of ground work that requires the animal to be really in tune with you goes a long way in establishing the trust required. Teaching them to move away from you when you ask and to give to pressure by backing, yielding shoulders and yielding hindquarters (it looks like she's already doing that some, which is great) are two great ways to begin this. You want her to realize that doing things your way are the easiest and safest and once she's doing these things well, then I would move to the lunging. Don't just put her on a 30 ft line and whip and start running her in circles though. Rather, start on a 8-12 ft lead rope. Begin by just leading her forwards, stop- and send her away from you. Once she's a atleast four or five feet away, put just enough pressure on her with your body language to get her moving slowly around you and relax. As you relax your body she will mirror you and relax as well.
A horse will give off just as much energy as you yourself are giving up so its vital to remain calm even if she's cantering around like a nut the second you give her pressure. Apply pressure only as you need it and as soon as she begins to move forwards, take it away. You want her to be feeding off of your energy and walking calmly around you, paying attention to you and only you. As she's beginning to unwind and listen to you, you'll be able to read through her body how she's feeling. It will begin with her back 'rounding' and relaxing, instead of looking tight like a corkscrew, and it will travel to her shoulders and neck. She'll begin to lower her neck and watch you as she travels instead of bouncing around you, and she'll move more freely. Once all of these things have happened and she is quietly listening, ask her to stop and praise her. This is what you want. Once she is calmly and quietly moving out in either direction for you consistently, you can move on to a trot. Stay on the leadline until you feel like she's listening well to you and both a walk and trot. Give her 'bite sized' things to work with every lesson as it will work better in the long run. Just make sure that she really understands what you're asking and why before moving on to the next task.
I'd encourage you to watch this horse and handler that I'm posting, as the horse is a great example of what you're looking for. The only thing I didnt really like about them is that the handler moved around too much and should of been standing in the same spot rather than circling with the horse.