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Author: Subject: Our homework from the lunging clinic with Dorothy Marks
Jeanette
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[*] posted on 20-1-2014 at 10:05 AM
Our homework from the lunging clinic with Dorothy Marks


Almost all the exercises were done with the handler being only a lunge whip distance from the horse rather than the old fashioned idea of standing on a paper bag in the middle of the school and expecting the horses to do all the work! The lash of the lunge whip was used to stroke the horses from a distance, a bit like parelli use carrot sticks. Rannoch wasn't that keen on being stroked with the whip but was better when I swapped to a whip that had a very short lash.

Dorothy said that I should get Rannoch more used to having a whip stroked over him. I wasn't quite sure that I wanted to have him desensitised to a whip and have quite deliberately not taught him to ignore one! However Dorothy suggested that maybe I was confusing impulsion and speed and that I was actually saving the whip to create speed (i.e. get Rannoch running ) rather than using it in a more deliberate manner to create useful energy.

One of the themes was to be able to do any of the preparatory exercises one step at a time. It means that the horses have to maintain their balance throughout an entire exercise (and the handlers too for that matter!).

It reminded me of tai chi walking where you are supposed to hold yourself in such an advanced state of balance that at any stage /mid-stride/whatever/ you can reverse out of a movement.

I've never been that successful at getting Rannoch to lunge in squares as he tends to run on and assume I want a circle. Slowing him down and touching/stroking him lightly under the neck with a whip if he started to feel like he was going to run on shifted his weight back into his quarters and got me the controlled square. It was very satisfying to crack something that has eluded us and without a bit, bungie, roller, or other training device.

Walking one step at a time through the labyrinth (6 poles laid out in an S bend) was much the same. First time I tried it Rannoch definitely wanted to give me a "good enough" job of getting through the S bend and just get the heck out of it (the purple and white pole especially upset him more than the rest of the poles which were pink and white!)) . Once he understood that he was going to be asked for a step at a time , either coming forward, moving the shoulder away or moving the hips away and then to stand for a while (a favourite "activity") it was much easier!

Our other bit of homework was to do small circles of trot and then go straight in between the circles but asking for really deep forward and under engagement of the hind legs on the small circles and also making sure that when I asked for trot from walk that he gave it to me immediately and gave me a little leap into it rather than run into it. Dorothy believes that this is going to be the answer for getting a more balanced canter that I can ride more easily either on the lunge or otherwise. I got the leap by tapping the lunge whip on the ground near his girth rather than touching him with it as the idea was for him to give the energy upwards into a little leap rather than all forwards and give me quicker legs/speed. Working close to him and using the wall of the school for the straight bits of trot work also helped get this message across. After this exercise Rannoch was really heaving. It's clearly hard work. I was told only to do a little of this at a time. In any event you would not want to do it before checking that they are listening to you and that you can move the shoulder away from you with the preparatory exercises first. If you don't have control of the shoulder and that hipo hulk comes at you at close range it wouldn't be funny!


[Edited on 20-1-2014 by Jeanette]
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Mags
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[*] posted on 20-1-2014 at 10:44 AM


Some really interesting techniques there. You write them up so well too! :clap:
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[*] posted on 20-1-2014 at 01:50 PM


Goodness, you are very advanced! I would be happy with a circle or two :D . Thanks Jeanette, very interesting stuff.




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[*] posted on 22-1-2014 at 09:47 AM


I did all the Dorothy exercises in the school this morning..weaving in and out of cones, one step at a time through the labyrinth (going forwards and in reverse!), small circles going into bigger circles, squares using turn on the forehand, squares using turn on the haunches

..but best of all was being able to use the whip stroke on the underside of the neck to achieve a little half halt and then a light whip stroke on the girth to get him to bounce into the transitions. His outline came right up with his tummy muscles clearly engaged (not as brilliantly consistent of course, but a start). I even got walk to canter on the lunge!

I was using a parelli rope halter and my driving whip..which is just the right length and weight for working closer up. It was also really handy for walking them down to the field afterwards. I dangled it slightly in Stukki’s path to ask him to slow his walking and ocassionally aimed a flick backwards near Rannoch’s quarters to ask him to step on it a bit!


[Edited on 22-1-2014 by Jeanette]
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[*] posted on 22-1-2014 at 08:08 PM


Impressive, I have had lunge lessons with Cara and she did it beautifully at first, then got worse and worse as she just couldn't see the point. I was taught to as well to go on an angle and be closer, but thats fine until you get a big bottom sashaying and trying to jump buck when you do click on, she has also had me off my feet before now,spooking at something in the school, a few years back, but it probably looked like something out of a cartoon, with me flying on the end of the rope. :dizzy:
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[*] posted on 23-1-2014 at 04:53 PM


oops....one to work on if you consider lunging important/useful I guess!

Dorothy made a big point at the clinic of keeping the horses in walk until they were relaxed at the poll and could yield their shoulders or their hips on demand and maintain/not drop the contact on the lunge line.

Rannoch and I enjoy ground work, but I know many don't.

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[*] posted on 16-3-2014 at 04:05 PM


Would love to see a video of these exercises
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[*] posted on 17-3-2014 at 12:03 PM


I too would love to see videos of your exercises. All of them.

I have been reading all your training forum over the years and have saved them all but being a complete novice and fairly new to horse ownership I sometimes dont understand the terminology. I sometimes really feel out on a limb and overwhelmed.
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[*] posted on 17-3-2014 at 04:55 PM


We too have been working on the things I brought back from Dorothy's clinic..we have a labyrinth, but unfortunately all the time I spent in the autumn getting him to walk and then trot over poles means that currently we do one set of hip and shoulder movements and then walk out over the poles. Ironically after all the time I've spent getting him to move his feet I'm now asking him to move forward one step at a time and he's make it quite clear that that's just silly!




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