Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canberra Australia
Yeah, it sounds like you are giving the horse mixed messages. I wouldn’t assume straight away that it’s disrespecting you, it could be, but if you are asking for one thing with the whip, and another with your body language, or whatever, it can confuse the horse. This could lead to it getting frustrated, you getting frustrated and the horse disrespecting you since you are not getting what you are asking for and letting the horse lead the way.
I’m not sure how you are lunging it, probably how I have seen people doing it around the place, but in terms of how I lunge horses, if I pointed the whip (I don’t use one but you know what I mean) at its rear end, stop and face me is exactly what I want them to do. I do that in conjunction with a signal from my other hand, which is what I eventually want them following, not the whip, or in my case the other end of the lead rope. If I want the horse to go around me I apply the stimulus to the horse between its shoulder and its ear.
The important thing is though that the stimulus is the second part of the equation, not the first. The way I actually tell the horse “go that way”, (the first part of the equation) is with my hand holding the lead rope. If they don’t want to go off that (and none of them do at first, they need to learn) I up the pressure incrementally till I get what I want; as soon as the horse gives me what I want I leave them alone and stop bothering them. At first, one step in the right direction is enough, then two, then three, and so on till they are loping around me in a circle. If I want them to stop, I give them the “stop signal”, if they don’t follow that, they then get the stimulus to stop (applied between their hip bone and tail) from the tail end of the lead rope- until they stop; once they stop they get left alone.
Now I’m not saying what I do is better that others, of that its right and they are wrong; all of that is beside the point, you could train a horse to lunge with a tea cup and a banana if you wanted to. So don’t go trying to copy how I just described how I do it, you will likely confuse the horse more. What I am saying is look for and give the horse consistency, have a look to see if you are giving the horse clear direction before needing to resort to the whip. Or are you saying stop with your body etc while you are saying go with the whip.