Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum View Post
We've got to work on him moving around me in a circle at all. If I try to drive him forward, as you suggested, he just ends up yielding his hindquarters. The trainer once worked on him for FIFTEEN MINUTES trying to get him to basically lunge in a circle on the lead and got maybe one circle out of him. She was getting sooooo frustrated. All he would do is yield his hindquarters. That's part of the reason I definitely want to work on lunging on a line as part of our re-education. He has this mentality that if he is on a lead that a person is holding, he HAS to remain at their shoulder at all costs.
Yeah, I'd fix that. To be honest, I'd also question a trainer who got "sooooo" frustrated after fifteen minutes. When I've taught horses to lunge, it could take that easily, if not longer. And you know, she's a trainer; she should know how to do this. I'm not a "trainer" and I know how to do this. One I helped I start, we had someone lunging her in the middle of the circle and someone else leading her. The person leading the horse would let her go and gradually increase the time they weren't leading and the horse was under control of the lunger.
Secondly, and this is perhaps more important, I'd teach him that he has to move whatever part of his body out of your space. If I put pressure on my horse's shoulder, she moves the shoulder away. If the pressure is on the ribcage, she leg yields away. If it's on her hindquarters, she swings them away. If I want her to circle around me, I direct with the hand holding the lead and put gentle pressure on the hindquarters with the end of the rope. For direction changes, I hold up the leading hand, stopping the forward energy and increase driving energy so she swings the hind end away. Then I push the shoulders away so she takes a step back as she turns around. That's important; her pulling her shoulders away from me instead of leaning into me as she changes direction. The horse also needs to learn that it can work at any distance; from me up against her shoulder to the end of a ten or twelve foot lead. With the three year old I broke on my own, I had done all the aforementioned stuff, so when he graduated to a 20+' lunge line, it was nothing more than an extension of what he had been doing on a 10' lead.
If this sounds confusing, I can possibly make a video of what I mean if it would help (and if I can draft someone in to holding a camera). I find when reading explanations of this sort of thing online, my eyes glaze over a bit but it makes more sense when I can see it.
From what you say, it sounds as if your guy hasn't quite got the memo about yielding to pressure at all times.