- When she has her head down -- is that a sign of respect/disrespect or is she stretching her back?
Yes, perhaps. Could be submission/giving in, could be respect, could be stretching her back, sniffing the ground... it depends. Depends also if you *DESERVE* and *EARN* her respect as to whether she'll show you any. (actually, the whole respect/disrespect lable/idea irritates me... don't think it's helpful... least not to the horse...)
- Head held way high up/ &/or tossing of the head -- I take this to be a sign of disrespect.
Yes, I'd take it that she doesn't respect you. Head held high is often a sign of fear, so she may be confused & worried about what you're asking. Nose pointing to the outside generally means she doesn't want to be with you, needs to escape... Tossing her head may be because she's telling you where to go because she doesn't want
to do as you ask, could be in frustration at you not 'getting it'...
- Should you give verbal cue first or shake the whip to ask for upward transition?
Following the 'behavioural' line of thinking... You want to associate the signal - noise, gesture, whatever) with the behaviour that you want it to come to mean. Therefore, get the behaviour first, and attach 'cues' when they're doing it, not before or after. Only once they've obviously associated the two do you begin 'testing' the cue by giving it before the behaviour you want it to instigate. Depending on how you use/teach it, waving a whip could be a primary(basic) motivator to get the horse going or the actual cue, after the effect.
- Where should your eyes be when lunging? I was always told, if you want the horse to move forward look at their butt, and if you want them too slow down, look at their front -- and always have your body at their barrel.
I believe the principles of what you do are important, whereas the cues and specifics can/should be adapted to the personal situation of particular horse & human. The above is an example of the latter I think. I don't think this 'method' is at all 'wrong', just different to mine. I teach a horse to yield to pressure, including bodylanguage pressure, so to look *with focus* at their butt should tell them to move it away - disengage it & face me. My cue for forward/faster is to 'lead' the horse forward, with bodylanguage &/or rope pressure, then back it up by putting energy(waving whip, etc) out behind the horse, getting closer until actually touching if/when necessary to back up the request. If I want them to slow, I put the energy out infront of them. I stand still & relaxed when the horse is doing what I asked, only facing it when I want to signal something.
- What works best for a halt? Sometimes I step in towards her and jiggle the line, asking her to whoa.
Again, I believe a matter of personal preference as to what your cues are. I think it depends whether you're interested in competition in sports where it might matter, such as dressage, and what appears logical to you, what you want to teach the horse... Whatever you do, make sure you're clear & consistent in whatever you want to teach. If I want the horse to turn & face me, I look at his rump, to ask it to move away. I will step or lean back to ask the horse to come in to me. Wiggling my finger or the line means backup, so if I'm 'lunging' it means slow/stop/backup, depending what we're up to & how I ask.
...If you say 'shake' to my dogs, they'll shake their whole bodies on cue, which I taught them so as not to get wet after their swims....
- How do you know when your horse is really working through their back end on the lunge line and when she's heavy on the forehand? How do you get her to track up and work the hind end on the lunge line?
'Heavy on the forehand' often means leaning or pushing on you - resisting. If the horse is doing as you ask with light/no pressure - eg. Loose line - then it's not 'heavy'. You'll know when the horse is 'light'. Aiming for working the hind end(in a well balanced way) is often about exercising the horse's body on the lunge(as in for long periods, for exercise sake), which is a concept that I don't personally agree with *in general*(never say never). But if you're exercising the horse's mind & training, you will be naturally asking for lots of transitions, which gets them working in a balanced way, using their hind end....