Friday, March 4, 2011

Lunging Woes

So Tuesday's ride ended up being a bareback ride in the paddock area. After Jay having so many days off due to the weather, I didn't want to trek over to SP without a buddy for the first ride back. We just kind of putzed around working on being forward off my leg. Nothing too exciting. Wednesday he had off.

Thursday is our lunging day, so I brought him straight into the paddock for a quick lunging session before feeding and putting him up for the night. I lunged to the left first which is generally his weaker direction, but since I had grabbed him straight from the pasture with the lunge line, that's how he was set up to go. I was also using a whip even though I usually don't. He started out fine, a little rushy, but not pulling out on the line or anything. At one point as I was asking him to walk from the trot I dropped the whip (quietly so I thought!). This for some reason led to him scooting forward, turning toward me and backing up fairly quickly. I told him to "whoa" and started to calmly walk towards him so I could start him out on the circle again. Well, the goober was snorting at me and acting like he was scared of me. He also kicked out with his left hind 2 or 3 times, not at me (I was in front of him), but towards nothing. Once the snorting ceased with did a couple of walk, whoa transitions in hand then started out on the circle again. I kept it a little smaller and just did some walk/trot transition to get him listening since I wasn't sure what his deal was, but he kept trying to stop and turn towards me. Now I have NEVER allowed this... when he halts on the lunge he is supposed to stay on the circle, not turning to face me.

When we switched to the right, he was lovely... listening to voice commands, stretching down, no turning towards me. Since he was so good, I made the mistake of going back to the left to see if he was listening better. Nope, he was pulling the same stuff. Got him listening well enough then took him in to groom. He was his usual sweet, goofy self.

Now to try and figure out why the antics. When I got Jay, he did not lunge. He had been off the track for about a year, with mostly turn out and a tiny bit of under saddle work. I taught him myself and he learned off voice commands, I rarely have to use a whip of any sorts with him (surprising but true). If he's lazy, a little fling of the end of the lunge usually will suffice. He has always lunged GREAT. So anyway, what's going on here?

-Lunging left first? I'm not sure about this, I think I usually lunge him left first, but I don't lunge him often these days.

-At one point I thought maybe using the whip right off the bat had him out of sorts, but for him to be so good to the right, then bad again to the left wouldn't make sense.

- It must be some sort of pain/discomfort thing. Wondering if it's his stifle, which gets sticky once in a while, but has never really caused much of an issue. He was moving totally fine though, so I don't know. I would have liked to free lunge him in there, to see how he did on a bigger cirlce, but it was a little wet and I didn't want him to slip if he got too carried away. I'm going to plan on riding him tonight to see what I have and take it from there.