I was very sore after the ride Gemma gave me but two days later I went out to work her anyway.
The night previous I had this nagging thought about Gemma being tense. So I looked up some videos on Youtube to get ideas on how to help her relax for lunging. I don't remember finding anything truly helpful thus I went with two ideas I had picked up from a couple of train groups which will be mentioned later.
When I went out ot get Gemma she came to me easier than anytime previous. When I called she walked more than just a few steps to me. I was quite happy with this. Unfortunately she was still a bit cinchy with the saddle so I took my time in tightening it and since we've started working on having her happier with the saddle.
I took her to the outdoor arena to lunge since that's where the ride had been. I had one goal for our session, relaxation at the walk.
At first I tried to just walk and keep her there but she wasn't getting the idea. So I went with one of the other two I had, stop her as soon as she picks up a trot and stop her then ask for her to walk again. We did this for a bit with out much of a noticeable change. So I tried keeping her trotting even when she wanted to quit (this was the other idea I had originally had). Not much better. After thinking about it some, I went back to stopping as soon as she broke out of a walk. I figured maybe I just needed to repeat a gazillion times and hang in there until she did get it. Slowly Gemma started to understand. Until we finally had a relaxed walk with good cadence.
After letting her go around several times in both directions because what you teach on one side of the horse you have to teach to the other, we called it good and she got a small break. Then we went into the indoor arena and I lunged her at a walk a little more to make sure she had the idea. She did! I swear she was saying thank you.
I am relieved to have figured out what one of our biggest issues and blockers was, relaxation (lack there of). So the lunging wasn't a speed thing at all like I had been thinking. I will be taking the relax into other areas where she's tense too and I still have no idea why she was so tense in lunging when I sure didn't feel like I was (normally the horse mirrors the human). I want her to be happy in what we do plus it means that she'll be less likely to explode.