Training to Lunge - Pt. 2

Training to Lunge, Part II

Starting to Lunge

Holding the lounge line in her left hand Lisa walks to the middle of the ring. She pauses a moment letting the apprentices quiet down. Jordan stands to her left with a lounge caveson on, the wind softly playing with his mane and tail.

"Last lesson we learned how to do the pretraining for when you train a runner to lounge. This time I'll show you how to start your runner off with lounging at the walk and halting. Before you do this step you always want to make sure your runner has completed the pretraining, and is fully comfortable with it. The time this takes will vary from runner to runner, " Lisa yells over the wind. During her pause, a snort from Jordan causes the apprentices to giggle.

She smiles then continues, "I probably will need help from one of you because as you can imagine it can be hard to get the idea to the runner to go away from the middle of the ring and on the rail." Lisa motions for the apprentices to walk to the rail. A few sit on the fence and some sit in the grass next to it. She raises her voice to yell over the wind that is picking up. "As I was saying it's hard to get the idea into the runners head, and the reason why is because from when they are born we teach them to walk along side us, not on the rail away from us."

She loosens the lounge line, slowly letting it out from her hands as she looks over at the apprentices choosing one to help her. She jerks her head towards a younger apprentice, "You can help me, I need you to first lead Jordan to the rail then i'll tell you what to do." Tossing his head every now and then playfully Jordan follows the apprentice to the rail.

"To make sure he stays on the rail I'd like you to run, or walk, behind the lounge line, but next to Jordan. If he starts to walk to the middle push him back to the rail. If at first he won't walk, i'll need you to lead him the first few steps." Lisa waits a moment then asks, "If you have any questions, please ask."

Standing at a halt Jordan eyes the people, flaring his nostrils to catch their scent. Lisa clucks but it is barely audible over the wind, then she yells, "Walk," in an enthusiastic, encouraging way. Lazily Jordan looks at her and snorts as if to say, 'Yeah right'

"Okay, I need you to hold onto the halter and lead him on a few steps. Once he starts going fall back into place besides him." She repeats the word walk as the apprentice does as she says. Jordan takes a step forward, dragging his feet as he does so. Lisa clucks again, saying walk and almost making it into two syllables. "Wa-alk!" Ears pricked forward attentively Jordan slowly picks up the pace and stops dragging his feet.

Lisa turns slowly in the center of the ring as Jordan walks around. After he compleates a full circle she speaks again. "Now i'm going to work on getting him to halt. I'll say whoa in a lower voice, kind of like the voice you would use to calm a spooked runner, and I'll pull gently on the lounge line, as well as step slightly in front of him. Does anyone know why I'll do that?" she asks.

A boy raises his hand, "Because runners won't walk into you because of the isolation bubble thing?" He tilts his head as he awaits an answer.

Lisa nods, "And can you explain what the isolation bubble is?"

"Umm it's kinda like your personal space around you. Like a certain distance you keep from people, or animals. For instance when you talk to someone you don't normally keep your face an inch or two away from theirs," he answers.

Lisa nods, "Yep, that's pretty much it. Now I'm going to start slowing him down to a gradual halt." With that she pulls lightly on the lounge line, "Whooa, Jordan, whoa." She moves so that when he halts he's not directly in front of her. As Jordan starts to slow down he turns slightly inward towards Lisa. "Keep him out … on the rail." She watches as the apprentice takes a step toward Jordan. Jordan keeps on heading to the middle of the ring, until the apprentice puts her hand out and pushes Jordan's neck till he's back on the rail. Once there he halts, as his eyes settle on one of the runners in the paddocks.

"Good. Now give him a pat to reward him." Lisa smiles. "That was pretty good, now because we want to keep the runner's interest we're going to stop here for today. We've got the basics for the walk and halt down. After he can do both steps well I'll teach him to do more. Thanks for your help, " she says as she walks towards Jordan, taking up the lounge line as she goes along, "and I think there may be some stalls that need mucking out." With that she leads Jordan to the gate and out of the ring.

A POSTSCRIPT TO VISITORS: Please note that these lessons are part of the curriculum for a *fictional* Craft that makes up a section of an online role-playing game. While the information here is intended to be accurate and informative and have some actual relevance to real-life animals, you must understand that it is set on a fictional colony planet and that this is not a real animal reference! 1

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