Friday, November 4, 2011

silence is golden

I actually took pictures today with a real camera and not my cell phone! Here are a few of Shyloh and Ryleigh in the pasture.
Waaaay in the back of the pasture!
Hiding behind this plant. . .You can't see me!

Oh. . .you found me. . .
I must run away now!
C'mon, Ryleigh. . .let's go! We get hay when we go in!
Okay!! Yum!
Fun fun fun!!
Dante and Lexi in the pasture next to Shy and Ryleigh

Once I got Shy inside, I had intended to lunge and long line. But I could not find the long lines! I started freaking out because I hate losing things and I had borrowed those. But, I texted Jaime and she said she used them last night for Clutch the Clydesdale, but they were in her locker. So only lunging it was. . .

Shyloh had her dinner waiting when I brought her in, but I did not let her have it. We had work to do. I lunged her each way and  we worked on our transitions. They were rough. But every time I asked Shy to trot from the walk and she threw her head and gave a little jump, I asked her to walk and started over. The head swing and jump does not seem like it is defiance, it is more like a whoo hooo, she is used to trotting in the pasture how she wants and it is fun! Eventually, she was able to transition more smoothly. And I did not use the side reins to do this :) I asked Kathy to take this video of Shy's head toss, but it was after she had been tossing, so it is not as pronounced as it generally is.

Yesterday, another discovery that Beth told me about was that Shy was able to lunge without me speaking because she was very in tune with my body language. I tried the silence today and it was amazing! I can get to her to walk on with my body language, trot with a cluck, transition back to a walk with a wiggle of the rope, and stop with my body language. It is pretty cool! 

It was relaxing to lunge in silence and only speaking to praise Shyloh when she was doing as I asked or when she made a smooth transition. We also did not have an issue with her backing up or being preoccupied with the door back to her stall. I ended the night with giving Shyloh apple and granola as a treat. And she got to eat her dinner hay!


  1. Shyloh looks like she is lunging pretty well. I love your photo captions!

  2. Shy's looking good! Isn't it awesome when you discover that you are making your horse move by your body and energy? This was brought home to me when a friend tried to work Doc in the round pen. She could hardly get him to move. Her body language was just not 'speaking' to Doc. She didn't know the subtleties of focusing on the rump, or focusing on the shoulder, or standing up taller!
    I notice that you keep your lunge whip up, at Shy's point of hip. One of my instructors said to keep the tip on the ground, in the same location, and only raise it when you want more energy. I've started doing that and it gives me another gear, so to speak. Now when I want a little more impulsion, I can simply lift the whip a bit. I was originally taught to keep the horse between the line and the whip, just like you are doing, but I like the change, now that I've gotten used to it.

  3. : ) Great job! Shy's looking really good on the lunge.

    Don't worry too much about the head toss (it's almost unnoticable in the video...I watched 4 times!). Moon's always done that (the kind you describe shy did BEFORE you turned the video on!), and has been progressively getting better (over 6 months!). He still does it even under saddle when something I'm asking is either contrary to how he thinks it should be done, or else is difficult for him to do (usually because it's difficult to balance yourself on a circle until you've gained certain muscle). : )

  4. Megan, thanks! She does lunge well. . .unfortunately, I cannot take credit for that. She came like that :)

    Dreaming, Funny that you mention the position of the lunge whip. . . I was doing it the way that you do it, until a friend told me otherwise. . .but I really do like your way better. It makes more sense!

    Sand, Thanks! Yeah, that video was not the best. I got another one today that shows it a little more.

  5. I laughed at your response about the lunge whip. One thing I know, for sure, is that throughout my life with horses (and just about anything else, I guess) I get mixed messages, with one person telling me one thing and another person telling me the exact opposite! Examples: Sit up in the saddle pushing your belly button forward; suck your belly button into your spine. Ride with contact on the mouth; ride with a loose rein. Release immediately when the horse yields to the pressure; don't release, make the horse stretch.
    So... I try everything and my horses think I'm nuts... or... I go with what seems to make sense and works for me!


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