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A different take on herd bound horses:

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    09-13-2011, 01:29 PM
He's very young... will be two in January.

Lunging - I've attempted to lightly lunge him before, in the round pen, and have noticed that it doesn't take long before he's licking and chewing to come back. Within a circuit or two (at a fast jog), he's asking to come to the center. He does this when free lunged and while attached to a line. He's a very submissive horse by nature and very intelligent. I'm a little hesitant to lunge him in the field though, because it is a natural field and full of rocks, hills and dips. It's great for the horses because they learn where to put their feet and are very sure-footed trail mounts as a result, but I don't know if it's the best place to lunge a horse. There are small areas that are safe to lunge, but those are few and far between in the field. Am I being too over-protective or wary? Is there a safer option that would render the same results, or should I try to lunge him carefully and allow him to pick his own footing while I work him long enough to induce some sweat?
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    09-13-2011, 02:11 PM
Our fields are rough too, but you can adjust your lounging circle accordingly as well. If you only have a ten foot space to work in, then shorten up and make him use his body accordingly - it starts building muscles too ;)

Unless there are posts or trees to catch the lounge line on, I would work him anyways. Of course use your judgement. Ruts and hills are mostly fine to work over - I've seen them run over those during play so I see no reason why he can't trot over them when he's being a turkey. But if you've got jutting rocks you may wish to simply just get him disengaging his hindquarters as quickly as he can.

The important thing is that he needs to realize balking = hard work and walking is easy
    09-13-2011, 02:48 PM
Awesome, thanks! I'm heading out there tonight and I've cleared my entire evening to begin fixing this problem. My goal tonight is to get him to the point that he doesn't hesitate to follow me. Once he follows me willingly (be it 5 steps or 20), we'll end the lesson and resume the next day. I always want to end on a good note, with him focusing on me.
    09-13-2011, 03:12 PM
A igree with perchiekisses....lounging has always worked great for me..ground work, ground work, ground work.....it takes alot of time but I think it is very important..my mares, most times, will follow me without any type of lead when i've aproached them in pasture give them a pat and a little cluck...i always have bailing twine in a pocket just in case though...no treats just atta girl rewards....
    09-13-2011, 11:02 PM
We have success! I went out to the barn today to work with Levee and made a special point to watch exactly what he does when he begins to refuse forward motion. He plants his feet and begins to shift his weight onto his hindquarters, like he's thinking about backing up. So, I let him back up.

I turned his hindquarters in the direction I wanted to go and began asking him to back up. Uphill, downhill, around trees...whatever we would have had to walk through forward to get to the gate, we walked backwards. The first time, I backed Levee nearly 10 feet before he started indicating that he wanted to turn around and walk forward. And walk forward he did, for 2 steps, until he put the brakes on again. We repeated this exercise over and over until eventually, he walked forward quietly until we were about 15 feet from the gate (mind you, we'd already crossed about an acre of pasture). Once more, I turned him around and told him to back up. One step, and he asked to walk forward. He walked forward with me, right out of the gate and across the yard. Not only that, but he listened far better than he ever has AND stood quietly while tied. Usually, he's tossing his head around, but tonight... he dozed while tied.

SUCCESS! I'll be heading back to the barn tomorrow to see if he remembers the lesson. I'm pretty excited.
    09-14-2011, 01:58 PM
Glad it's working out for you! Keep us posted with his progress!
    09-14-2011, 03:07 PM
LOL! My poor barn owner actually came looking for us in the field, thinking one of us had gotten hurt or something. Apparently, we were taking too long to come out of the field and he was worried. The look on his face when he saw me backing Levee over a hill was priceless.

I don't know why I'm so tickled that this method worked so well, but I am. I'm completely thrilled that something so simple worked so well.
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