+ TVhorsetalk: To Lunge or Not To Lunge...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

To Lunge or Not To Lunge...

One thing Max just didn’t do was lungeing.  I pointed, clucked and swung my stick at his head, neck and shoulders and he stood, desensitized, looking at me, licking his lips.  I just couldn’t keep doing it to him.  He just absolutely had no idea what to do. 
I can hear Clinton now saying I’m one of those females that says, “Oh, Precious, why won’t you lunge?”  (And not long ago he would have been right!) 
Max obviously didn’t know what to do, and I realized part of our foundation was missing.  Clinton Anderson has it very step-by-step from beginning to end, and I had missed the Round Penning steps. 
I admit I was a little slow to get this.  I thought we were at the beginning.
He mentioned in the GRCG-I dvds exercises that should have been completed in the Round Penning (RP) dvd set.  
Great.  I thought I was starting at the beginning and here was this whole set of exercises I had missed.  I knew I needed to get the Round Penning dvds in order to start at the beginning. 
Maybe that was the missing link to Max not knowing how to lunge and me not being able to teach him...    

First, I came across a very used set that skipped and stuck so much that I missed many of the important instructions.  I swear, every time he was giving an important point or instruction the word would be skipped or the dvd would stick.  I could discern enough from a couple of the exercises on RP to make a start in the round pen with Max. 

Max wasn’t as excited about it as I was.  My round pen was larger than usual because I also used it as a riding pen at the time.  Max and I began and Max did almost all the things Clinton said horses might do.  He told on the dvds how to correct them so I stuck with it.  When he bucked and acted snarky I kept the pressure on. 
Max really scared me a couple of times.  He decided to act like a rodeo bronc and run full speed around the pen, ears back, looking at me, and I did keep the pressure on with my stick and string a couple of times and then let him decide to stop. 
I admit I was scared.  
And then he circled calmly and attentively and I relaxed, too.  Like I said before, I didn’t do all of the exercises because of the condition of the dvds. I couldn’t tell what I was supposed to do.
            In the meantime I was in the process of locating a set of RP dvds that worked.  But apparently, I had done enough so that when I went back to GRCG-I, EUREKA! 
Max, on the lead rope, got the idea of lungeing when I pointed, clucked and swung the stick.  It was verrrrry rocky at first, but each day we practiced and he (and I) became a bit smoother.  
However, he was NOT going to go to counter-clockwise!  He refused.  My arms were about to fall off from pointing up high, and bump, bump, bumping the rope to the left.  We were just no good at changing direction.  So, I backed off and we just practiced going one direction, stopping, yielding, giving two eyes. 

I think I was also confusing him because eventually I was getting around to his side in an effort to swing my stick at his left neck and shoulder to get him to move off to the right instead of remaining in front of his two eyes position and pointing and bumping the rope to the right. 
I’ll tell you right now I was not good at teaching it at first. 

I also had to get used to handling the equipment.  I would watch the dvd lesson again the next morning before our training session.  Each time I would get something new out of the lesson.  The dvd had covered it well.  It was step-by-step, and each step was building a foundation for future steps.
And then last week the day came.  Something happened.   I pointed to the right, clucked and swung my stick at his head, neck and shoulders and he moved to the right.  I stopped and yielded him, got two eyes then pointed to the left, clucked and swung the stick at his head, neck and shoulders and I couldn’t believe he moved off to the left. 
Hallelujah!  Good Boy!  He went around a couple of times.  I stopped and yielded him and rubbed his head and gave him some enthusiastic “Good boys!”  We tried it again and it went smoothly again.  We had reached a turning point.  No pun intended. 

Have a good ride,

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