A bad habit.

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A bad habit.

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  • Lunging bad habits

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  • 4 Post By Cherie

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    08-25-2012, 09:12 PM
A bad habit.

This horse I'm helping train has a bad habit that I'd like corrected as soon as possible. I'm really new to horse training, so I'm not exactly sure how to deal with this. What she'll do is while lunging, when she shifts into a canter she starts moving farther away and eventually, pulling the rope out of your hands.

Trying to pull her back simply doesn't work. I've tried...by the time I realize she's moving farther out, she's in a near gallop and there's no stopping her now. I got a pretty bad rope burn and bought a pair of leather gloves. All though my hands won't get hurt again, the minute she breaks free she gallops away, and it usually takes quite a while to catch her again. Does anyone have any idea on how to break her of this habit?
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    08-25-2012, 09:17 PM
Green Broke
My first thought was that she may have a balance issue cantering on a circle. How big is the circle that she is lunging on? Does she do this in both directions? Is she good with the walk and trot on the circle?
    08-25-2012, 09:21 PM
Originally Posted by Chevaux    
My first thought was that she may have a balance issue cantering on a circle. How big is the circle that she is lunging on? Does she do this in both directions? Is she good with the walk and trot on the circle?
I don't have an exact measurement of the arena...or a very rough one, haha. Large enough for her to take two minutes or so to gallop around it completely.

Yes, she does this is in both directions.

Mmhmm. She trots and walks very nicely while lunging.
    08-25-2012, 09:40 PM
What length lunge role are you using? That will tell us the size of the circle.

Are you lunging her in a regular halter, rope halter, cavesson or bit/bridle?
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    08-25-2012, 09:43 PM
Green Broke
Ok, Hazels, here's my next thoughts: As in all horse "problems" you need to first establish that there are no pain issues (if there is pain, this could cause her to gallop off) and in some cases that means a visit from the vet. If you know the history of this horse you may be able to rule that out quite quickly. I think if I were in your situation, I would do short canters when lunging. By that I mean possibly a half circles worth then I would bring her back into a walk (don't hurry this transition as you want her to come back to a walk quietly -it's important for her to be calm and thinking rather than reved up and panicing); when she has settled then put her into a canter again (do this in both directions). The purpose of this is to help her work on her balance and get her listening to you more. (I do this same thing when riding to develop a nice comfortable non speedy canter).

Good luck and let me know how that works out for you.
    08-25-2012, 09:47 PM
Originally Posted by DancingArabian    
What length lunge role are you using? That will tell us the size of the circle.

Are you lunging her in a regular halter, rope halter, cavesson or bit/bridle?
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I didn't measure it or happen to ask how long it was...but if I had to guess, it's probably maybe...fifteen/twenty feet long or so.

A rope halter.


Thanks Chev. I do know a majority horse's history and yes, I can rule that out. I'll try what you suggested, thanks.
    08-25-2012, 10:17 PM
I have a horse that does this sometimes too.. Try lunging in a bridle (with a bit) - you have more control then.
    08-25-2012, 10:29 PM
What I think is happening is the horse's mood changes as she changes gears. The canter or gallop makes it easier for the horse to become resistant and pull against the handler or even get into a good bucking session. First, there is no real reason to have her canter when on the lunge. If you still wish to do it, watch her ears. If her inside ear is cocked toward you, then she is paying attention to you. When she'd not paying attention it will flick or change position entirely. When this happens she looking for the door and disregarding what you ask of her. It is almost impossible to control her as she has all the power in her jaw and neck working against you. What I am going to suggest is start her at the walk but before she has gone half way around, have her reverse with her head turning toward you. Use your whip as a pointer to help her do this. Now she is travelling the way she came only reverse her again. You are making the decisions, she's not. The turns will also get her hindquarters under her in a more collected manner. She is getting plenty of exercise doing these turnbacks and her hindquarters are working harder. Only when she's doing this well do you attempt it at the trot and a slow trot at that.
    08-25-2012, 10:54 PM
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She is simply doing it because she can. She has found out that you cannot hold her at the canter and she bolts off into the wild blue yonder. It will get worse and she will start bolting as soon as you start her on the longe. I have seen them go from this to bolting when they are just on a lead.

I like to always start a horse to the right. This is so they do not just start running past me and start themselves. If you are not physically very strong, you may need to put a chain over her nose or under her chin for a while.

I start with a short 12 - 14 foot rope. [I hate flat longe lines.] I use only the trot for several sessions if a horse has already learned to bolt. I teach a horse to stop when I pull it hard around to face me. Then, I change directions and pull it around to stop every 2 or 3 circles at the trot or any time the horse pulls even a tiny bit on the longe line. I want slack in the line. I do not want it to touch the ground but I do not want it tight either. Every time the horse tightens the longe rope, I pull it around and stop it and either start it over or reverse it and start it over.

If I start to pull a horse around to stop it and it does not stop, I jerk the rope hard several times and pull it around hard again. I get them so I can barely pull on the rope and they stop. I DO NOT use the word "Whoa!". I say nothing. I want the horse to watch and respect the slightest tug on the line. I want the horse to have absolute respect for me and that rope and never, ever tighten it.

I have had horses that I could longe in hand over complete jump courses and do numerous trail obstacles on the end of a 25 foot rope. I move them up faster with a smooch and teach them to drop down a gait with an "Easy".

Until they are this obedient at a trot, I do not canter them. When I start cantering them, it is only for 1 lap and I drop them down to a trot or pull them around and stop them and change directions.

In a few minutes, I can have almost any horse paying attention and working on a loose line at the trot. A couple of sessions more and they are working like that at all 3 gaits. If you are very demanding and very exact in what you accept, you can have any horse working like this on a longe line.

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