Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Learning to Lunge

Cole has been keeping me busy. Most of the time, he is a fun horse to work with. When he doesn’t understand something, he just freezes. That was what was happening when I asked him to lounge. In his eyes, he only will move forward if I am standing right next to him in the proper leading position. In any other place, he stalls. If I feed the rope out to get him to move further away from me, he stalls. If I try to lead him between 2 hands, he stalls. I tried to click him for sending him away, and that seemed to help, but he still wasn’t consistent. He wanted to be right next to me.

His previous owner free lounged him in her round pen. She just chased him away with a whip to get him going. I wanted a gentler approach. We have a round pen at our barn, but it is very small. I thought of trying to and keeping him at a walk, but the day I wanted to use it, circumstances wouldn’t let me. I turned him loose in the big arena, and did a little in there. I shooed him away with a waving rope, and when he left, I clicked. He came back for his treat. I did this a few times, and he was listening, but by then, we were hot from the sun and the half hour of ground work we had just finished.

The next day, I still couldn’t get to the round pen, so I took him right to the big arena. At first, I just let him play while I cleaned stalls. When I got back, I called him, and he galloped to me. (Pretty for 2.5 weeks.) I then practiced sending him away and clicking. It worked. Sometimes, he took off running and bucking around the arena, but he didn’t get a click for that. After about 20 minutes, maybe less, he was trotting full laps around me. I put him on a lead rope, and he lounged around in both directions at a walk. I think we did it.

Tonight, after review, I am going to work on downward transitions. I am sure he will take to them well, because he is now following my body language quite well. I never expected him to free lounge in the big arena so well, so quickly. We will also work more on leading and I might just put the saddle on his back.

I love clicker.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

Good job being patient and sticking with it! I was going to suggest using targeting as I was reading this post, but you found your own way so congrats. :) He sounds so smart and willing.