When lungeing a horse, keep your core (belly button) directed toward the horse’s shoulder or girth area and the lunge whip directed toward the flank area, which is the “go” button on the horse. Your core at the shoulder sends a pushing message asking the horse to stay out on the circle and the whip at the flank sends a pushing message to the horse to move forward. Do not allow your core to drift in front of the horse’s shoulder toward his head. This will cause stress in the horse and his body will become tense and “bent out of shape”.
The timing of aids is crucial to the horse. In order for a horse to perform a specific movement accurately, the aid must be given at the appropriate moment. Therefore, awareness of the horse’s diagonal balance and bend is a priority.
Horses travel with diagonal movement. In others words, the left hind leg pushes power through the body and out to the right front. The right hind leg pushes power through to the left front leg. That is why when riding, you will feel a swinging in your seat from left to right.
The theme of this horse friendly tip is “Listen”. Listen to your horse. I am deeply saddened when I hear of a horse or horses that have been euthanized because they were so called “problem” horses and therefore not useful to the business. These “problem” horses are healthy and in the prime of life, but because they have become intolerant of mixed messages coming from handlers and owners, their fate is death. Horses labelled as dangerous are blatantly trying to tell their handlers that they are not using horse friendly body language and it is really stressing them out! The horses who act out the most, such as bucking, rearing, biting, kicking, and so on are screaming for someone to listen. Please listen! And if you do not know what to do, find someone who can help you to listen and learn how to speak horse.