This is Moonlight, born in 2006. Here is our story and how the Lunging Course changed our life.
How it all began
Let’s start at the beginning: Moonlight was born in Denmark. When she was five years old she was sent to Germany to be sold by a professional horse dealer. She did not like to be handled and was very shy. They tried to break her in, more or less. A family showed up, looking for ponies for their stable. They liked Mooni right away. They took her home to their Children’s Camp to turn her into one of their school ponies. It was a professionally run stable and they tried hard, but her progress was slow. One step forward, two back, and she needed more time than the stable could afford considering all the horses they had to train. On top of it, she could only be ridden by a few advanced students. And even those were run away with and bucked off. She ran around with a tight back and a neck like a giraffe.
I had attended this Camp for several years in my summer vacations. I rode Moonlight for the first time in the summer of 2012 and immediately fell in love with her. Why? No idea! She was not fun to ride. On the contrary, even Moonlight’s trainer told me she always felt sick when riding her! Moonlight was just too sensitive to be a school pony and endure different riders all the time. The stable owners decided to sell Moonlight into private hands. I tried everything to convince my parents that these should be my hands, because this grey, alert pony had won over my heart. And so my dream came true in the summer of 2013: my first own pony!
It was not an easy start. It took a year before we even began to become a team. One setback followed another. In my dressage lessons she was rushing around with a tense back. When I lunged her she tore away and ran off, and out on the trail she ran away all the time. One time we fell, and she ran off without me. We did make some progress, though, she especially liked groundwork. But nothing worked like I had hoped and expected.
Breakthrough with the Lunging Course
Real progress, especially in dressage riding, came in 2015. We had begun to work with the Lunging Course. She understood the basics very quickly, beginning with leading in position and the “trolking”. She learned to raise her back, stretch her neck down, and bend at the poll and throughout her spine – all without side reins or other tools, just with the aids taught by the Lunging Course. At first, only a few steps, of course, and not continuously and in all gaits. But even so, Moonlight improved more than ever before. We became ever better partners and the runaway pony has turned into one that I can safely ride on the trail in just a balance rein around her neck.
At the end of 2015 we took our first Lunging Course with Babette in person. This work had been so much fun for me and Moonlight, and I wanted to confirm that I had done the tasks correctly. We worked on the slalom in walk and trot, shoulder-in at the walk, and a better way of moving. I was more than enthusiastic about the Course and we took away a lot of homework.
We attended the next Lunging Course only four months later. This time Moonlight picked up the travers in record time and we worked more at the canter. I was surprised again how much progress we could achieve with Babette in the smallest steps and the shortest time. The lessons were always divided up into tiny steps, so the horses could understand easily.
Today I have a pony that is always motivated and can be ridden in a healthy way, without ever running away. We have been working on smooth transitions and lateral movements, and started liberty work. I can free lunge her in all three gaits.
I don’t know where we would be today without the Lunging Course and even whether I would not have given up along the way.
You can watch our story in the following video. Enjoy!
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