I found the review helpful to cement the things introduced the first session, but there was also enough new material to keep things interesting.
When I first learned to lunge a horse, I was taught to point my arm in the desired direction and send the horse off. If the horse didn't move off, I would add pressure by swinging my stick and string or end of my lead rope, increasing pressure as needed until the horse responded correctly.
Bryce argued that this method is not as desirable because it creates brace in the horse (as the swinging rope approaches/taps the horse), which you then need to go back and fix. His preferred method is to grasp the lead rope about 1-2 feet from the halter and gently apply forward steady pressure, releasing slightly anytime you feel the slightest softening or weight shift by the horse, even if the horse doesn't actually pick up his feet and move.
I watched Bryce use this low-key method with great success. The horse had locked up his feet and didn't want to move. Bryce patiently kept asking and eventually the horse responded correctly. It initially took longer to get the horse moving, but the horse stayed relaxed and calm the entire time. When the horse did move, it stayed relaxed and focused on Bryce and was bent on the circle, as opposed to trying to leave the circle. No bracing, no stress.
I know I would have been tempted to add more pressure by swinging my rope slightly, in fact when I tried it with Jasper (who likes to move his feet), I kept catching myself starting to raise my arm to do just that. Habits are hard to break! I'm going to try this method with Raven, who tends to be a bit bracey even with small amounts of "swinging" pressure.
Under saddle, we did all of the exercises I discussed in the first post and added a couple more. We took turns circling a barrel, then asked the horse to swing their back end out and bring the front end through. The we did the same thing when we "hit the wall" or the "rail" or whatever you want to call it. Clinic riders--you know what I mean!!!
Bryce shared a couple maxims I really liked too. Please comment if you know the original source of these. The first was Observe, Remember, and Compare (possibly from Ray Hunt?). Watch what your horse does and for that matter, what you did. Remember how he did it, then the next time compare the two events. Do you see an improvement? If not, what can you do differently? Remember, if you do the same thing every time, how can you expect anything to change?
The second was If your horse improves only 1% everyday, in a hundred days, you'll see 100% improvement! Horse training takes time and patience and as Bryce said, Whether you want to be or not, if you own a horse, you are a horse trainer!
Thanks again for the clinic, the conversations and the yummy meal afterwards. More pics on the Eastern Idaho Gaited Horse Association Facebook page. Participants, feel free to comment on anything I may have missed or that stuck out to you in particular. See you in a couple weeks!