I've always been curious about the Pessoa lunging system. It is way out of my price range for a gadget that I may not actually like. I'm also not big on lunging as I want to get the physical benefits out of riding for myself as well. With four horses at varying stages of training though, it looked to be something that might help spread me around better.
I had a neck stretcher that I'd bought at Dover that was decent enough, but again, I'd been choosing to ride and not lunge when the opportunity presented itself. For my "tougher" horses (Mango and Piper), I'd bought a german martingale that only acts when they lift their head and serve as a quiet reminder to stretch down. It works great with both of them as they're rather clever.
This is the trying out of the Balance System from State Line Tack in the pictures. Piper did really well with it and I was able to adjust it to help her balance better at the canter with minimal contact. Katy didn't get much out of it and Mango was just ok. It didn't sell me on the item at this time, but as the horses get more advanced and I buy more essentials that are more important I may consider getting one just to help exercise them out.
As much fun as I'm having playing with Katy and Piper, I believe my future lies with Arthur in some shape or another. As such, I've stepped up his training and decided that I needed to have "lessons" to help make me get on him. To be honest, the idea of riding him freaks me out. Its not exactly fear or lack of trust in the big guy. Its more a lack of trust in myself and my training abilities. What I've been doing with him is different than I've done with other horses, but then again, I broke my rules and bought a "known" bucker so naturally I had to work outside my comfort zone. Of course, he's really turned into a calm and quiet boy that's taking it all in stride and seems to be completely relieved to have his life simplified.
Which just leaves working on the mounted work.
I'm the type where repetition brings about confidence. Once I've done it enough times then I own it. Logically I have a checklist with him and a wonderful online help source to guide me on this journey. Even for perfectionist me, I have to admit he's running out of ground work things and needs to be upgraded to a riding horse.
When I thought about how I overcame some minor issues on cross country as a kid, I reminded myself I did best with people that told me to "just do it." There's not really lessons for this training I'm doing so finding someone that could yell at me but also be knowledgeable about what I've worked on seemed to be a daunting task.
Then I recalled I have a friend who's husband does this sort of thing. I asked her if he'd be willing to help me out and to my shock, he agreed - for free! I was so happy I could cry. Due to our unnaturally wet year in Texas, I was only able to make it out there one time before May but Arthur was a rock star. He acted the same there as he did at home. We even got our first time in the round pen and he completely transferred all our training over to the round pen without missing a beat. Shane rode him first and there were a few issues that I'd run into in the past few months so he showed me how to work it out. He also said a round pen would help this along much fast and I frowned. It was obvious but I didn't see that in the cards financially but I'd figure out something even if it was trailering places to use theirs.
I was so proud of my boy though as he did a great job being in a strange place, doing things that had bothered him before, and recalling his training so well. We still have a fair amount of work to do on his exiting the trailer, but we made progress!
Here's a quick run down of things we've done this spring:
Pierce was rocking his lessons with Erica on Katy.
Katy and I had our first over the top, full on sweaty ride of the year. Yummy!
Mango started to look less like a Hereford cow.
Mango got more work on not looking like a Hereford cow.
Katy finally put on a ton of weight, hooray for the green grass! She's up to about 1100lbs now!
Arthur started working on "pressure" training. Namely neck stretcher, lunging aids to learn to go forward with contact.
The horses died. Wait, no. Sunbathed a lot :)
Katy went from looking bay last year to kind of rabicano. This year when she shed out it was a full on roan. Go figure old lady!