On this beginning of the year I would like to start with a lungening session. It was filmed a few months back, and lots have improved and changed since then. Training horses is a continuously changing adventure and what was correct and an improvement one day, can be corrected and improved further a following day…
This session is on one of the ex calvary horses whom could not handle the military life, 88 o the big teddy bear as i like to think of…
He is an Irish Sport Horse leaning towards the draught side, which makes him perfect and compact for collected movements, when able to balance himself properly he will be a super star performing the high school movements, i am certain of it 🙂
When first arrived to me, going on the lunge meant go around circles 200 miles an hour and totally unbalanced, disconnected of whoever was in the middle of the circle and very afraid of the whip; lungening meant running like a head less chicken.
Sadly, that’s the way most of the horses are “trained” on the lounge; pushed out of balance and tied up with gadgets.
At Symbiosis we use lungening as another tool to teach the horse to satay calm, balanced, and in riding frame as we are progressing throughout the training. I use the lungening to see and overall picture of the horse, and its movements and disposition as well as communicating and staying connected and tuned in at all times. If i am not tuned in and continuously talking with my horse and feeding him information, he will simply stop working as i have lost the connection with him.
At Symbiosis we prefer to teach the horse to hold and to learn to keep his own balance alonside with its riding frame without the need of using anything else but a cavesson and a fine leather lunge line, as we strongly believe that any fixed position of the horse’s frame or head (no matter if the side reins are a bit loose or not) counteracts any attempt for relaxation and suppleness of the muscles. We can not force a horse to give us his muscles, he will give it to us if he trust us enough to allow us to have them.
I am very lucky to have chosen and have the opportunity to work with horses that once were branded as difficult, dangerous or untrainable, as they have helped me to refine my aids, work on my energy and on my inner balance since they are ever so sensitive and reactive to any shifts of energy around them. Not an easy path, but a very worthy one.
Okey, lets get started: we have moved from a very choppy, nervous and hollow walk to one who is starting to track up and seems a little bit more relaxed. His mind is more on me, and he follows my indications to start going into trot. On the trot he is much more balanced, keeps a good rhythm and its starting to stretch down.. he recently has started to let go, and i encourage him on the noises he is making… a big feedback for me is the fact that he is not pooing anymore as soon as he reaches the arena or i start asking to work (anticipation to fear or stress).
Sometimes the trot gets a little bit too rushed but he is kind enough to listen to my body and correct accordingly.
Where one of the biggest changes on him relays on the canter work, thanks to the finally achieved calmness of his mind.
Lots to improve still, but i am more than happy to see him canter without loosing his mind and at the slightness of my cue and energy. Cantering for 88 was a very scary thing to do, his flight mode would kick in and nothing would stop him.
He is still unbalanced when getting back to trot, but he doesnt loose the connection with me or enters into panic mode, which will make it easier to achieve the balance through the transitions.
The quarters in on the circle is coming on nicely, and sometimes we even manage to go into canter from it 🙂
I have recently started asking him a little of lengthening of the strides in trot, which at this point is mixed up with speed, but it is the very beginning of this new exercise and i am happy and proud because he is willing and picking up on my change of energy and offering me some speedy trot, what later on, will become a lengthened trot. He is also responding very well on going back to a more collected or shorten trot when I ask.