Halo and I had another longe session on Saturday afternoon. It was nearly 80 degrees out, so the poor girl worked up a bit of sweat with her winter coat. Fortunately for me, it gave me the opportunity to spend some time washing her mane and tail, which have become rather stained and nasty over the course of the winter thus far.
Longeing didn't go quite as well as I'd hoped. She's learned the goals I set for her last fall when I first begain longeing her - she moves out promptly from the whip, walks and trots when asked, and whoas sharply, even without the line. However, it's time to make this more controlled. She still cuts into my circle, especially on the side away from the gate. She often pulls and tosses her head when I don't let her run off with me. Those issues need to be corrected. I would also now like to see her do quiet transitions from walk to trot and back down again while maintaining a good circle in the same direction. It's a lot to ask from her, especially as she's become bigger than ever.
On Saturday we worked first on the things she already knows and does well, but there was no free-longeing this time. It's spoiling her. It's time to get down to business, and learn to respect the line as well as my voice commands. She moved off well, but had a few moments of explosive spazziness where she leaped around and did her best to haul my arm off. Since I had merely asked her to trot, she got some tough love - loping around until she was sick of doing so. Fortunately with the warm weather it didn't take her too long to tire out. The footing is deep around the edges in the round pen, and I don't want her to injure herself zipping around in it. After that burst of energy, she settled down to work other than a few small moments of brattiness.
The most consistently bratty thing she does is toss her head and pull when we have a disagreement about the size of the circle. Like most babies, she wants to cut into my circle on one side, and pull on me on the other. Ideally, I'd like her to make a nice circle not only for the sake of control, but also because the footing is best around the perimeter of the pen. With my previous horse, I used to longe him with a stud chain on. He could haul the hell out of my arm, and after being kicked by him on the longe line a couple of times, there was no more room for monkeying around. With Halo though, I am not sure a stud chain is the right course of action. She's very sensitive over the nose and does not respond well to being jerked around. Does anyone have suggestions for an alternative way to keep her from pulling on me? I'd like to solve the issue before longeing her in a bridle, which is still several months out.
Despite the less-than-perfect longe session, Halo did make up for it by being utterly placid for the washing of her mane and tail. She stood there in the crossties with one foot cocked like she was an old pro about it. The crossties are still relatively new to her, and I've been impressed by how readily she's accepted them, especially given the troubles we had with tying at first. Here are a couple of pictures after her washing.
Halo likes to get as close to the camera as possible, which sometimes makes it hard to get a good picture...
She's finally growing into her goofy ears a little bit!