Today was a day off from school due to stormy weather, so planned riding time was eliminated. By the time we got down to the barn this evening Blair was not interested in riding, but I took the time to do a little loose-lunging play with Luna in the arena. I’m so glad I did!
I figure any time to bond with this horse is good. We’ve really learned a lot together about the loose-lunging, also. For a while she was quite riled up by Makai (my dog) and Joey (barn dog) barking at her, and the other horses coming in for dinner, but even that excitement was worth watching because it showed how far she has come in gaining fitness.
When I first got Luna, she was coming off four months stall rest as an injured coming-4 yr old. Her hind end was weak to say the least; although she was still fast as a bullet, she would often skid out behind as she negotiated sharp turns at pasture, whether on gentle slopes or flats. I’d watch her and worry, “I wonder if this girl is sound . . . .” All I knew about her was that she was beautiful and sweet, had a non-performance-limiting flesh wound to heal over her near hock, and had fallen in a race as a two year old. She’d come back to run and win as a three year old, but then again, someone saw fit to retire her to a re-homing organization. Then my client bought her, and subsequently sold her to me after her injury took so long to heal. So I had plenty of circumstantial evidence to question her soundness, and witnessed plenty of skid outs to the ground as she regained fitness over those first months at pasture.
Keeping her out on those hills for a year (with two geldings as company) was probably the best thing that could have happened to her. Tonight, she galloped around a mid-sized arena at speed and never missed a step. Good to see!
But what was also good to see, and feel, was her interaction with me. If I step in front of her shoulder-ray [I’ll put it for now] as we’re working one direction on a circle, she’ll turn towards me with ears up, licking and chewing, and either steps towards me if we’re done, or heads off in the opposite direction if that’s what I ask. She’s just great.
I use a Parelli-stick when we free-lunge, because that’s what’s easily available at this barn. Once we were done, however, Luna was standing with me getting her face rubbed and Blair picked up the stick-and-rope and began wielding it around as one might expect–raising it in the air, swatting it on the ground, whipping it overhead like a fishing rod. I was delighted to see that while Luna noticed these antics and even flinched a bit, she nevertheless stood still with me and realized the stick could be ignored, if I was ignoring it too.
Looking forward to more of those good WALKING rides . . . and moving on as we’re ready. Meanwhile we have an adventure trail ride planned through the woods in 6 days (next Wed.)