thank you guys I did some more join up today, and I have no idea why I did this but when my horse didn't get that interested in me I sent him away and he came back to me with more interest. Does this sound like the way to go ? I just randomly did it. I have been rewarding him when he comes to me with a scratches and rubs and wither rub sometimes. I didn't get to lunge today .. but I will probably do some more as its school holidays.
The reason he came back with interest was that you became more important than whatever was drawing him away from you. Then, when he came over to you, you were a very nice place to BE at. THAT is the whole concept of "join up".
The only reason you might ever have to run your horse around and around until he is "begging" to come in is if he is focussed hard on something outside the pen, such as his herdmate. In that case you might have to get really BIG to interrrupt that outward thought, and that's what you are doing; interrrupting his outward focus so that he has a choice to make. That choice is: go back to that outward focus OR focus on the thing that interrupted me.
So, when he leaves you, he has chosen to go outward, and you need to interrupt that choice and see if he'll choose you the next time.
Eventually, it takes very little to interrupt his outward thinking. But, you do need to let him make that mistake and then offer up a different choice; YOU.
Once he isn't running blindly around the corral, and he comes to you, in fact wants to stay with you. Then you work on sending his feet here or there, backing up, things like that to be sure that he will come back to you when you cease sending.
And you can test the strength of your connection by having him join up, then you walk, and then you TROT off. Will he trot with you?
Remember that your horse must match you, not the other way around.