In this video I start by moving his feet and start working on free lunging. I want to teach him to start to learn how to follow my lunging communication cue through my body suggestion and the support from my stick to send him out and around and go the correct direction. In the early stages I step out behind his drive line and sometimes use the angle of the wall to help him take the correct direction when free lunging. I want him to get really confident with these body and stick communication cues before I lunge him with a lead rope on. I find it much easier to teach all young horses the lunging communication cues without a lead rope on. Less things can go wrong without the lead rope, especially with a Brumby that is not used to ropes. However, if you don’t understand the ‘drive line’ and how to influence your horse to go forward and stop in relation to their drive line I wouldn’t recommend doing this with a young horse. I would recommend you learn these important skills with an older horse that will be much more forgiving while you learn.
When I get up to putting a lead rope on and lunging for the first time the horse is already confident with the lunging communication cues, therefore the transition to lunging with a lead rope is much smoother and less confusing for the horse to understand. I move between moving his feet and approach and retreat using desensitization so I can progress to his next threshold. I work on desensitizing him to moving my arms around further away from him so I am able to move my arms a little more when I’m in close to him without taking him over his threshold. I explain how I categorize horses into ‘blue’ horses and ‘red’ horses. ‘Blue’ horses have less natural flight instinct. Are more confidence in themselves and their environments, have a tendency to be more relaxed but can be dominate, they can have a high play drive and can be ‘naughty’ or they can also be stubborn, lazy and laid back and not want to put a lot of effort into things. Whereas ‘Red’ horses have more natural flight instinct. They are not as confident, have a tendency to get worried, nervous, anxious, they can be sensitive and reactive and sometimes unpredictable.
Both horses need good leadership from us but ‘blue’ horses can need us to set more healthy boundaries, develop mutual respect in the relationship and you may need to learn to be more assertive with some ‘blue’ horses. Whereas ‘Red’ horses need us to build their confidence and trust in themselves and our world and they need more reassurance from us. Often we need to slow down and develop more feel for ‘red’ horses. You will notice me do small movements with my arm to get his attention and then the moment he acknowledges me I stop to reward him for noticing me. This is a way of communicating with him. I want to build his interest and curiosity in me. When I work on desensitization a long way away from him I follow the same process as if I was working in close with a halter and lead rope on. I am hesitating and rewarding every single sign of acknowledgment towards me and the process. I am mainly watching his head and expressions for these tiny changes in his movements of his ears, eyes and mouth. I keep building on all this tiny acknowledgment and this leads to gaining his curiosity and trust in me. I feel he is the type of horse that could have gotten very defensive (pinned his ears, snaked his neck) if I did this initial process too quickly for him.