Monday, September 22, 2008

A bit of help?

In this time of continuing to recover from “the accident”, I’ve been loathe to take risks with my back. So I’ve mostly just been hopping on Kona for a while when my back feels good.

Without tack.

No saddle, no bridle, no hackamore.

Just me, a big beast, and a halter and leadrope.

When I’m not feeling so great and want to just lunge her for a bit of exercise, I’ve been reminded of that fine line between buddy and alpha.

I’m not naturally a dominant character when it comes to a 1000 pound pet who could accidentally seriously injure me.

Kona is rather passive-aggressive. Instead of turning into a psycho horse and rearing and bucking… she’ll just make something as choppy and unenjoyable as she can, until both of us have had enough. In realizing that EVERYTHING is a teaching moment, I have been trying hard not to let her get away with things.

My trainer was a big believer in lunging before riding. Since Kona is usually so mellow, the only reason we do it is to warm her up and get her focused. She is absolutely pushbutton… does everything by voice commands or clicks and kisses.

She’s just gotten a bit lazy lately and is not enthusiastic about cantering clockwise. So she likes to turn her head in and do that crazy “running sideways” thing that drives me nuts. If she really doesn’t want to canter, she chops it up while running sideways until she pulls her front up and is facing me. Even a lunge whip doesn't seem to do me much good at keeping her faced to the side.

I usually keep her in a good circle – but find myself chasing to stay behind her driveline during the clockwise canter. I don’t think pain is an issue (she’s fine while being ridden).

It’s a scary thing for me – and I struggle to be the Alpha in those situations (my first horse reared AT me – groundwork scares me more than anything). You can tell from my body language in this picture that I am intimidated by my horse. You don’t hear me yell at her, or see me again get behind her driveline and make her canter. I did – and I made sure to end on a good note.

On another note… she LOVES working with trot poles! I would absolutely love to find her former owner (most likely a dressage rider) and find out what her training included. She becomes a different horse when she sees them – it’s obvious she is eager to work and enjoys it.

On the lunging issue - any tips from you horse-lovers out there? I don’t consider Kona to be dangerous – she has NEVER displayed aggression toward people. The refusals are just bratty, but I don’t want her to fall into the habit of bossing me.

Here’s what the lovely scene looked like:


Stacy said...

Hmmm...well, if you are using the driving whip that usually should work. If he keeps trying that with you, you really need to start yanking on the lead line to get her attention. Be forceful, because they know they people who they can take advantage of. If Kona does it while you are on her, I found that yanking them back so they are backing up is something they don't really enjoy (the bit pressure on the mouth). You need to be assertive with them.

Weeksie50 said...

I just dropped by from another blog and I thought that I would say Hi.