Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lucifer tones it down a notch

My biggest issue with lunging Lucy before riding is that it tends to heat her up more than tire her out. She starts out pretty chill on the line but as she warms up, she just goes and goes and goes. I also end up with an overly-fit horse in a short amount of time. On top of all that, due to her injury I don't love the idea of her running around in a small circle.

All of that being said, in response to her horrible behaviour under saddle earlier in the week, I lunged the crap out of her yesterday. She was an unholy DEMON. She had all this pent-up energy and it exploded in the form of Lucifer like I have never seen her before. Let's just say I quickly had to go get a lunge line with a chain on it because my nice little cotton one without a chain got us nowhere. Actually, it got me dragged (on my feet) across the ring. She was so far ahead of me that she decided to circle back and leap over a stack of poles that were in the middle of the ring from when it was last dragged. The standards for the jumps that the poles used to be a part of were arranged neatly on either side of this stack of poles. When she jumped the poles, the lunge line got caught on the top of the standards and knocked them all over like dominoes. I was horrified. It was like a train wreck.

The chain brought her brain back down from orbit and we ended on a good note, but it took me forever to cool her out and then I went home thinking "why the heck do I even bother?". There are many things I could easily spend $500+ a month on that were looking a heck of a lot more enticing than this nut job horse. I was so frustrated.

Today I went back and decided to give it another shot. It was 65 degrees and it felt like Springtime, and you can't ask for more than that in November in New England! I borrowed my barn owner's Vienna reins and lunged her in those. They worked very well for her because she was not able to fling her head around and get stupid, but they did not hold her down. As long as she carried her head fairly level, she had no pressure on her face. If she stretched down, she got even more of a release. She figured the system out quickly and went *beautifully* in them with a soft look in her eye the whole time.

I hopped on and found myself riding a completely different horse from the last time I rode her. I don't know if she was tired from yesterday's all-out brawl, or limber from warming up in the Vienna reins, or if some magical being came down and trained her for me overnight, but damn that horse went like a million bucks today. There was no hint of psycho to be found. She tried leaning on my inside leg right at the beginning of the ride and when I asked her to get off of it, she was offended and had a tiny (TINY) protest but I booted her with my inside leg and that was the end of that!

We walked, trotted, and cantered consistently on the bit in a dignified and civilized manner, without attitude, with happy ears and soft eyes, and I am so bummed no one was there to capture this on camera!! At least my barn owner was there riding with me, so I have a witness.

I spent a total of four hours at the barn today between riding and doing all my chores. I was so motivated by the warm weather that I cleaned the barn from top to bottom, blew all the leaves out of her paddock with my little electric leaf blower, cleaned her paddock, emptied and scrubbed her water tank, installed the drain-mounted tank heater I ordered last week (harder to install than one might think!), did her stall, and groomed her to perfection.

I'm hoping to get our annual holiday photo tomorrow since the weather is going to be just as beautiful as it was today!!

Here are some photos of Cairo being adorable today:

sock monkey love


  1. Beautiful pictures! I'm glad Lucy was good today. :)

  2. I am right there with you on the lunging. I never put any weight in the idea of it. I mean I know that my horses stamina will far outlast mine. So I can try to wear him out but we would end with me exhausted and frustrated. That said I have really found what feels like a magical cure for the belligerent hot thoroughbred that I call my own. Don't tune me out yet cause I know how I felt about the whole idea of this before I did it and saw first hand how it completely changed my horse. I don't like to say it because I don't care for this person very much nor do I agree with everything he does but one thing he does is invaluable to me now. It is lunging for respect as per the method by Clinton Anderson. It is night and day different than just lunging a horse. There are very specific system to it and it is effective for a horse like Steady who is excessively athletic, thinks he is far more intelligent than me and regularly would rather flip me the bird than do as I ask. I will try to do a couple posts on it do explain what exactly it is about this system that has made me a believer but I have also seen it work miracles on a friends horse that was dangerously volatile, whom I just saw being walk, trotted and cantered quietly and calmly. Keeping all that in mind I have no intention of buying into anything commercially CA and I have seen many people take it and use it completely incorrectly and made their horses a mess. But with someone like you and I who are already intelligent and responsible horsewomen it is just another tool to use in a box of many tools. If you want me to explain in more detail or want to ask me any questions you can email me.

    1. I totally agree! We did a lot of CA stuff over the winter last year. I have most of it tagged under "groundwork". It really does get their brain in the game and tires them out mentally, rather than getting them hot, sweaty, and ultra fit!

  3. ... unholy demon... That's a new one. :)

  4. Those pictures are great! Your dog is adorable.

    I'm glad you had a good ride to counteract the bad one. Silly horses love to mess with our emotions lol.


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