Free lunging is my favorite way to start working with a new horse. It gives me a chance to see how the horse moves naturally, but it also is a great method of learning to communicate and read each other's body language to begin establishing rapport and respect.
As expected, Golden Dove picked up on what I wanted her to do very quickly thanks to her amazing brain and excellent work ethic. We had some miscommunication at the beginning, but within 15 minutes she was offering attempts at 20 meter circles around me and changing directions in response to very subtle cues.
Throughout it all she remained calm and attentive, and I loved watching her light floating trot. For a horse so freshly off the track she has very minimal body soreness, and I can't believe how free and loose she is through her body. Once she builds some back muscle and learns to use her hind end better, I can only imagine how much more effortless and beautiful that light movement will look when it's coming through with strength and energy from behind.
And to put everything into perspective, this was Dove's first time in my outdoor arena and the other horses were all just starting to eat dinner while I was working with her. Despite all that she ground tied quietly for more than 5 minutes while I groomed her in the middle of the arena.
The icing on the cake was having her choose to "join up" and follow me at liberty. I don't even mind that she was following me with some encouragement from a treat because until yesterday she had ZERO interest in any form of food reward.
This mare is going to definitely be something special, and I can't wait to see how much she continues to improve over the next few months.
By Kyle Rothfus
This blog is dedicated to providing insight about OTTB re-training, Thoroughbred pedigrees and general equine care. You can also track the progress of horses I have for sale through posts here.