Saturday, February 21, 2009

Starting Training, Step One: Lunging

I don't ever make the claim that "my babies are handled daily"--because they're not. They are handled regularly, and well-socialized. Whether or not I do any showing with them (Kate probably did the most as a youngster), they all do get the basics of respect on the lead and of showmanship: walk and trot in hand, whoa, stand quietly, squared up. I usually start moving them around me on the end of the lead rope early on, but I don't like really working them on the lunge-line when they're young, because of the strain it puts on their legs.
By the late summer or early fall of their yearling year, I'll start doing a little work in the round pen, either free lunging or on a line--I want them to know how to behave on the line, as there isn't always a round pen available, and I'd just as soon not get drug about! The line is also where they first start learning to respond to pressure on the face from equipment. Either way, they are learning my body language and verbal cues.

This is Amber Arabesque, "Amy," Kate's little (2007) sister. (This is my first attempt at video, on my little point and shoot Canon.) This was probably her second or third time lunging, as a long yearling. It was a blustery day, and she was a bit full of herself. She kept wandering off toward the barn side of the round pen, as well. The pen is set up in the corner of my arena, and is probably a bit big for what I'm doing with Amy--it was about 70 foot, as this was about the time I was getting ready to get Maddie going under saddle.

Certainly not as consistent yet as I want them to be. That'll come this spring with Amy. But she's mostly listening, and responding to the control of the line (sort of).

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