Mac and I are headed for another training session tomorrow so I thought I'd do some practice in the arena yesterday. I started with ground work on the lunge line, working with the lunge whip with a plastic baggie on the end. I can have him stand still and swing the baggie all around his head, over his face, over his back, around his legs, under his belly, etc. But when I do these things and he is moving, it is a different story. It is really interesting how he compartmentalizes something. Standing still with a baggie flapping around is okay. Moving with a baggie flapping around is not. So we practiced having the lash of the lunge whip laying across his back with the baggie flopping wherever it may - next to the saddle, next to his butt, on his back, moving/falling - and having him move off. That would be fine until I moved the baggie again (meaning, while he is walking or trotting I lift the whip and the baggie moves) - then it is scary, even though the baggie was just flopping in his peripheral vision. Sigh. We got to a good stopping place and I climbed on.
We did a bit of w/t/c work with the lunge whip and baggie inside the arena gate, which got some googly-eyed looks from Mac, and then I had the brilliant idea of grabbing the whip and dragging the baggie behind us for our cool-down walk. Wouldn't you know it, that was not a problem at all! I first had him stand while I got the whip, and I made the baggie swoosh all around him. Then I put both reins in one hand, the whip handle in the other hand, and asked him to walk out while dragging the baggie next to us, flopping it up in front of him, draping it over his butt, etc. Did that in both directions with the baggie on each side in each direction (so four times total) and called it a day. He was really good about that, I was pleased! I'll be able to say I did some fun homework when we go for our next lesson.
Today - off to the trails! :-)