Dixie’s Diary: Day 1 of lungeing.
Hey y’all! I hope y’all have had an awesome week. So as y’all know Dixie had an injury about a year ago and long story short, I am now starting her conditioning to bring her back. I am doing this partly because I want a way to document her progress and partly because it might help some of you. So, I have been doing ground work with a few days, of her just backing up softly and with energy so once she got better at that I decided I would go ahead and start lunging her.
So I started her first day back lunging, about 3 days ago. One thing I want to mention that is super important is to have a plan of action or a goal before you start working with them. So, for example, my goal with Dixie was just to have her give me forward motion and respect my space.
I walked into the area I was working her in and I immediately sent her into the lunge, and she started loping around which was great because I wanted her to keep a forward motion. She pulled a little bit but not bad and she just had some energy since she is a performance horse. I kept her going for a few times around because I want to condition her but I did not keep her going too long since she was doing what I asked.
Then it was time to switch directions, and let’s just say she was not having it. She would spin around and would not let me get behind her shoulder, she’d back up, stand there and she even tried to not move at all, she tried everything to not go in that direction. So, I was just consistent and I was not going to stop asking until she gave me the answer. After about 20 minutes (literally) she finally went and I decided to end it there, because I want her to know the release of pressure comes with her doing what I asked. I will ask her to go longer, but for this session, I wanted to end it on a good note. Remember to always end your sessions with your horses on a good note or do something that you know they can do so you are letting them know that it can be a pleasant experience and that they end once they have completed the task you gave them.
So just remember, always be consistent with your work and don’t let them BS you, believe me it happens to all of us at some point. There are days where Dixie listens to almost everything I ask her and there are days where she will test me and throw fits. I don’t ever give up on her and I always do my best to set her up for success. If I were to have given up and not make her lunge to that side it would have been a level up for her. So, you have to make sure that you do not release the pressure until they have done what you were asking of them, so they know the release is once they do what you asked of them. However, you have to make sure you release the pressure immediately once they have done what they were asked. Remember they are prey animals and horses learn off the release of pressure, not discipline.
I hope that with me documenting this is can help someone. I will be honest about each training day, there are good training days and not so good, and I will write about it all. I hope you have a great week. Remember go out there and tackle those goals and dreams!