My key to developing connection on the lunge line is to move with the horse rather than remain stationary in the middle of the circle. Just like any other part of connection, there are three parts: energy/speed (set by horse), direction (set by me) and distance from each other (collaborative). The lunge line is just like working at liberty except I have a tool (the lunge line) to help reinforce direction and distance.
I decided not to edit this video so that you could see my full session with Moon. The main takeaway I hope you gather from this video is the importance of softening your horse through bending and direction changes to achieve connection, relaxation and focus.
You can soften your horse through changes in direction from the ground or in the saddle; whenever you feel your horse is losing focus or increasing speed, think about changing direction left or right rather than back or front (pull/kick).
Keep in mind this was the first time I was on Moon since November and only the second time I've worked with her since then. I also had planned on working through lateral movements from the ground, but based on my observations I changed my plan and rode bareback instead as I thought it would be more beneficial (and less stressful for her) to focus on easy changes of direction with forward energy rather than lateral movement where she might have gotten "stuck" and become resistant due to physical limitation.
This video is a glimpse into the beginning of developing connection with Moon despite distractions from her friends in the barn, bugs and the physical factors of heat adding another layer of discomfort and annoyance.
You will see a couple brief moments of connection where I am able to place my hand on her cheek and have her walk with me - matching speed, direction and reducing distance to the point where we are touching. Keeping in mind it has been a few months since I have worked with Moon, I chose to stop after these minimal moments of relaxation rather than get greedy and continue in the hot humid weather with the bugs. She did not reach a point of relaxation where I would consider it a wise idea to go for a ride, but hopefully you can see that she did improve toward relaxing and connecting over the course of this 10-minute video.
Kyle's training philosophy relies on establishing a strong connection through ground work at liberty to result in a greater working relationship under saddle. He is a Level 3L Certified Harmony Horsemanship instructor and a multi-year RRP Thoroughbred Makeover competitor with competitive experience in Mountain Trail Challenge, Dressage and Reining. Kyle's calm yet upbeat approach will give you great insight into ways you can develop a stronger connection with your horse resulting in a confident horse that consistently responds with "yes."