When I fetched Quest from her stall, there was someone lunging in the dustbowl arena so I decided to tack her up while we waited our turn to lunge and use the space. Quest stood nice and still for grooming but when I started girthing up the saddle, she would not stop scooting around in the cross ties. I think all the driving around/traveling I had to do while in Texas was taking its toll on me and I found myself getting fed up quickly. I decided to lunge without the saddle and we trooped into the dustbowl when the other person left. I sent Quest out at a walk with the 15’ training lead still clipped on and asked her to change directions, she started super trotting instead and hauling on my hands. I was already annoyed and in no mood to deal with her attitude so I unclipped the lead and sent her out to work. Sassy mare was rip raring to go. Quest did laps along the edge of the arena at a gallop. While she stayed out of my space the entire time, I was concerned about her slipping and falling. Which happened…sigh. She got right back up, kept moving and got her thinking brain back after that though. Maybe, just maybe, tearing around in circles like a crazy isn't a good idea.
I waited for my opening, saw she was beginning to look at me for direction and we got back to our normal programming with quiet, nice, controlled free lunging with lots of w/t/c transitions. At the end Quest came right to me when invited in. We ended on a good note, tacked up and I hopped on for a great ride afterwards.
Mares. Crazy half-Arabian mares.
I know some people have different opinions about lunging before riding for various reasons. I don't agree when riders resort to it to exhaust a horse into compliance but I personally use it as a gauge to see where Quest's brain is for that day. We don't do it for more than 10-15 minutes and as Quest and I have gotten to know each other better, it has been pretty much 100% free lunging at liberty- plus there's something really neat about having your horse listen and connect through vocal commands. I think the time spent lunging has been invaluable for us and I always do some sort of groundwork review while at it too. I can count on one hand the number of times I have hopped on her without lunging or doing groundwork first. It's just too important to neglect, in my opinion.
Quest is usually perfect with lunging even with limited turnout so it could have been the warmer weather that amped up the extreme sass. But that’s no excuse for hauling on me so we’re going to revisit lunge basics the next few sessions starting tonight with lunging on the line and switching out the nylon for the rope halter. I was actually a little sore from this weekend's riding- I probably lost some fitness since it's been too cold to saddle up the past couple of weeks. Noses to the grindstone for both of us.