As I gripped the lunge whip tightly in my right hand and snapped it, Neville walked out on the line. His little legs were at a slow pace, as if he didn’t care to trot at all. He stopped, turned and looked at me, as if he was telling me that he wasn’t going to do it anymore. I snapped the whip by his hoof and he didn’t seem to care. I looked him in the eyes and dropped the lunge whip, pulling him to me. Being the stubborn pony he is, he pulled back and planted his hooves into the firm dirt, refusing to move from where he was.
I was tired of trying to get him to do it over and over again every day, because I knew he wasn’t going to do it. The next few days were the same as the day he wouldn’t lunge. It turned into a week without lunging, so his exercise turned into harness training and eventually, he was nearly to fat to fit in the harness.
Everyday it was the same. I would snap the whip and he would plant his hooves into the dirt. I tried lunging him in the rain, but he wouldn’t do it. We would both end up with mud up to our knees from sitting on the ground (or in Neville’s case, rolling) because we were both frustrated with each other.
His exercise ended up turning into trick training. I got him to where I could get him to pick up the brush, but he got bored with it very quickly and never did the trick again. He would bow his head, but wouldn’t do the rest of the bowing trick. He would jump over cross-jumps, but avoid them at liberty.
Eventually, I just made him run laps around the yard and that seemed to make him happy. He loved getting out of the paddock to run and graze on a little bit of grass because he doesn’t get grass very often.
Last night, my Pap took me to the barn to get our volunteer time in and then he brought me back to my house. I was planning on working Neville last night because it was cooler than it was during the day. I grabbed my longer lead rope that I use as a lunge line, because my big lunge line is way too long for the paddock area. I haltered the grey Mini Horse and hooked the lunge line on the ring. I snapped the whip and he relaxed his back hoof.
Pap took over and eventually got him to lunge the right way. Neville was excited and kicked up his hind legs. He loves to lunge now, especially when it’s cooler outside.
I whispered in his ear and said, “Neville, all you got to do is lunge.”