Toad had two days off the end of the week so I thought I'd better lunge her both days this weekend. It was really just theoretical that I thought I should lunge her, I didn't *really* think it was that big of a deal. Apparently, I was wrong.
Yesterday I took her in the arena and Trainer J. was sweeping the bleachers. She called over and asked if it would upset Toad and I said it would be good for her to be exposed to it. Right after I said that Trainer J. knocked the big broom on the beam at the edge of the arena to knock the dirt off and Toadie jumped straight up in the air, all four feet coming off the ground at the same time! Quite a show of athleticism there!
I told her she was fine and we went to the other side of the arena to work and kept telling her it was just fine and everything was ok. Nevertheless, when Trainer J. knocked the broom against the beam again Toad reared up in the air, did a Lipazan style jump and started tearing around the circle kicking her legs back up behind her as high as she could. I know I'm supposed to stay quiet with her but I yelled, "No!" and gave a huge yank on the lead rope. She didn't listen so I relaxed my whole body and said, "Eeeeeasy ... trooooot ... just trooooot ..." and gave a hard yank on the lead rope once to get her attention. She did slow down pretty quickly but I don't know if I got the point across that that had been unacceptable behavior. I guess more than punishment, it's good that she calms her body down quickly like that. Maybe that's more important, getting her in the habit of quickly calming her body down when she flips out like that?
Then I took her over to Trainer J. and let her sniff at her and sniff at the broom and even watch the broom being banged on the wall to knock off the dirt. Trainer J. commented, "You just ruined her excuse to go off like that." Yes. Yes, I did.
Trainer J. finished up and left and we did some more lunging and this time during a trot, Toadie all the sudden bolted forward and started bucking - like a giant monster had come down and landed on her butt! Only I never heard or saw anything so I think she just needed to get her ya-ya's out. Once again before I could stop myself I snapped loudly, "Uh-uh! No!" then remembered and relaxed my body and said, "Eeaaaaasy ... trooooot .... just trooooot .." and she slowed down even more quickly that time. Today was much better. In fact, the one time I asked her to canter and she started to flip out, she got two bucks in, bolted for maybe six steps while I was saying, "Easy ... quiet down ... easy ..." and she immediately caught herself and went into a nice, steady canter. I was very proud of her!
After her work, when I was brushing her and getting ready to put her back in her stall to have her lunch, I had that feeling I used to get when I was a kid - that warm, magical feeling of being completely enamored with horses - how they were these giant, mythical creatures that transport you to a completely different dimension when you're with them and nothing bad in life can affect you for the time you're with them. It was pretty cool. I just can't believe she's my horse! I never really thought I would actually have such a beautiful, sweet horse of my own like her! I remember feeling the same feelings when I first got Girlfriend too. I guess that's what people mean when they have a lot of kids, that you love all of them just as much. I find that hard to believe because I love my daughter so much, but if my horses are an example then I guess I understand.