Crossfiring while lunging - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-04-2012, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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Crossfiring while lunging

My Arabian is constantly crossfiring on the lunge line going both directions. He begins on the correct lead, but barely makes it 2-3 strides before his back legs switch to the wrong lead (his fron legs are still leading out with the inside leg). Oddly enough, I don't have any troubles with him crossfiring under saddle. Since I just lunge him to warm him up and it isn't really affecting his riding, I figure this isn't much of an issue to push? Can I just let it be and maybe work itself out eventually, or should I try to correct it/how?

Just a little background - I bought him about a month ago for endurance directly from the breeder. He's 7 years old. He had 30 days professional training when he was 4 or 5, but then didn't get worked due to the owner's broken leg. He's basically sat since then and was best described as VERY green when I got him, but after some consistent work he's done beautifully :) He may have been crossfiring when I first started riding him at a lope, particularly in the arena as opposed to the round pen, but lately he doesn't seem to have any trouble when he's under saddle, though he is doing it constantly on the lunge line. I haven't tested him lunging freely in the round pen yet...
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post #2 of 7 Old 03-04-2012, 01:55 AM
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I'm literally in your exact position. Arab, extremely green, only crossfire's on the lunge. I find that my horse does better if you allow him a larger circle. Don't keep him in really close, allow him a wider space. He still does it sometimes, but when he does I just say "ahh ahh!" and ask him to trot then pick up the canter again. Consistency seems to work the best.

Though this is just from my one experience, I'm sure someone else will have a better, more informative answer :)
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-04-2012, 02:35 AM
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It could also be a matter of fitness.
Keep him on a larger circle.

One thing, I would not be doing much in the way of canter work on a horse that has done nothing much for a long time.
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post #4 of 7 Old 03-04-2012, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Foxhunter View Post
It could also be a matter of fitness.
Keep him on a larger circle.

One thing, I would not be doing much in the way of canter work on a horse that has done nothing much for a long time.
No worries - he's in good shape. Getting into endurance, I've had a lot of fellow riders and a vet or two check him out, not to mention myself, and He's been ridden at least every other day since I met him - I rode him for two weeks before I decided to buy him. He'd been put back into the riding schedule so they could sell him, and though I didn't really notice, before I even brought him home, the breeder mentioned he'd gotten leaner. His biggest issue was that he simply needed handled and worked regularly and consistently to start getting some sense into him - but it all came back very quickly and he's very athletic.

As far as the cross firing, it seems the larger circle may be the way to go from the comments that have been left. I'm not too worried about it, honestly - if he's only doing it while warming up it doesn't seem to be a huge issue.
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-04-2012, 07:21 AM
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It is real common if you allow it. It is simply a matter of a horse being sloppy and making a habit out of it. It takes a lot more effort or keep that inside hind leg up there where it belongs. It just is another case of a horse dropping to the lowest level of performance that the handler accepts.

I do not ever accept crossfiring. I get after the horse until it brings that inside hind leg up there where it belongs. I do not let one slow down to catch up by starting over. I make it miserable enough that the horse fixes it. I yell at them when I get after them and after that, all I have to do is yell at one it just catches up the next stride.

I have found that when I do that, within a very few longing lessons, the horse will seldom crossfire and will fix it themselves whenever they do. Longeing should be more about training and obeying the handler than it is about exercise. I am as strict there as I am riding.

Remember -- the worst thing you accept is the best thing you have any right to expect. How effective of a trainer you are depends on what you accept.
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-13-2012, 12:33 PM
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My mare does the same thing alot. Just work with him to build up the muscles is what I've been told. Also I have been "butt roping" my mare and that has helped tremendously! I don't have a video/picture of me doing it right now but when I go home and work with her this weekend I can take a video/pic and post it so you can see what I mean. Hope this helped! :)
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-05-2012, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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Just as a quick update - Snickers ended up having some very intense round pen work from a trainer because he didn't want to be caught, basically making him lope until he wanted to pay attention and listen which took a LONG time (though we ultimately solved that problem through a LOT of bonding time!). Though it didn't solve the catching issue itself, I got after him each time he got lazy and cross fired, which the trainer said he was doing because he was weak on the hind end. However, after 4-5 sessions during which I got after him each time he cross fired, he no longer cross fires! We did it without a line simply letting the round pen do its job and making him lean in and use the correct leg when I pushed him. Yesterday when we warmed up I lunged him on the line each direction (not hard - just an easy warm up to get him thinking), and he held his leads perfectly :) Thanks for all the suggestions, and if I ever have this issue again, I'll definitely head right back down to the round pen!
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