lunging must be meaningful
Hi Mjn . . .(can't remember your avatar name)
You've been through the ringer with your horse and the posts on HF and all, some nicer than others. I think you are really brave to ask for opinions again. May I offer mine?
I did watch your video of lunging Nash and I have to agree that your body language and position do not support the verbal commands you are giving the horse and expecting him to follow. I, for one, do not think that verbal commands are so good to rely on. You will not be able to use them in daily riding very much (except "whoa!") and certainly not in showing. Since horses communicate 99% through body language, we should do the same with them. So, it means that you have to be exceedingly clear with your body language. All of his motions during that video indicated that he did not understand your body language, OR it was not MEANINGFUL enough for him to give you his attention.
This might be what is happening with the Arab gelding. He has a cute mare pulling his attention elsewhere, so in order for him to give you his attention (a precious, precious gift), you have to be really meaningful and interesting to him. Just standing in the middle and turning on one foot and calling some human sounds is NOT meaningful to a horse.
You have to do something, anything , that requires his attention.
You could kick up a bunch of dust, go banans right there in front of him, wave a flag, slap your thigh, anything that gets him to abandon the other stimulus and LOOK at you, with ears and eyes. THEN, you have to have a purpose in mind that is really clear to him. MOVE! I mean push him to move. OR, back up! or disengage you hind! or (if he is already moving ) Change directions! If he is blowing you off for that mare, it's because he sees no purpose for doing what you are doing. Would a horse ever push another horse around and around at the same pace? No, he would push the other until it moved off and then let it go, or he would step in front of it and cut it off from the source of food it controls.
Lunging on a line can become really meaningless for horses. If you must lunge on a line, you have to intersperse things of interest, like speed up, slow down, change directions, stop, canter from a walk, . j
So, If you decide that you must lunge on a line, before you get started really think about how to be important in your horses mind. Have a plan in mind for something to do and try to stay one step ahead of your horse (though you can change the plan at any time at a moments notice). Just don't let your forcus wander and don't let dead space open up. If you have to get big and a bit "messy" to get your Arabian's attention, so bet it. Who cares if he barges around with his head up for a bit. In fact, push him MORE rather than slowing him down.
It isn't that he "mind " you and go the correct gaits that you ask, but rather that he is paying attention to you and moving promptly when you ask.
I hope you will have the chance to free lunge in a round pen like situation and ride more frequently rather than lunge twice a day, which seems likely to burn out the horse.
Thank you for reading my very long post. I appreciate your patience.
Last edited by tinyliny; 10-19-2010 at 10:05 PM.