Doesn't know how to lunge? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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Thumbs down Doesn't know how to lunge?

I'm going to try to keep this short. I've been working with a friends horse for about 5 years. When I started with her she was a nervous wreck, basket case from a bad cart accident/training background and was afraid of whips, buckets, her own reflection, men, and anything shorter than her behind her.

It took me two years to ride her and she knows a lot so someone worked with her. I've been riding her consistently under saddle for 3 years.
My one problem, she has no respect on the lunge line. She's shown me once she knows how to lunge by trotting in a small circle and then stop[ing so I'm guessing she grasps the concept. But after one circle she always stops and proceeds to turn her butt to me with her ears pinned which is complete disrespect. In turn I smack her with the lunge line and pull her face around while stepping out of the way of her ginormous rump. After about 10 minutes of back and forth like this I can get her to trot semi circles where I praise her.

At the end of the month I'm bringing her over to the barn I board at for the winter. I'd rather ride her and other than lunging she has great ground manners but if for some reason I'm unable to ride I'd at least like to lunge her. Should I just continue this back and forth and praise when she moves out like I am now or scrap this and try something completely different. I was thinking of riding her on a lunge line and seeing how that works?

She's an 18 hand Percheron mare, 11 years old.

She's ok with whips now, she still doesn't like them but she doesn't run a mile when she sees them. It's more ears pinning and snorting.

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post #2 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 02:44 AM
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My Percheron did the same thing initially. I don't know if it's a draft horse thing or not, but have heard similar experiences. Once I went to free longing, got all the respect I wanted. He was just protesting being on the line. I don't know if it hurt him, was uncomfortable or he just plain didn't like it, but I didn't want it to be a continuous fight.

So one day I just took him off the line and was going to just chase him around the arena, he ended up doing perfect circles around me in both directions. Stopped when I asked, ears forward, no butt turns no nothing.

As you know, draft can very 'vocal' with their snorting, growling, ear pinning, tail swishing! I think 'something' could be going on, especially since she is elevating her behavior. It may be that she just doesn't want to do it. But I also know most of the draft riders I've talked with have the same issues - the horses don't do that great on a line. And the line may very well remind her of the accident.

Try free longing, see what happens.

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
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I never thought of that! I think my round pen might be too small for her but I can let her out in the pasture or the indoor arena and chase her around. It's just getting some kind of exercise on her if for some reason I can't ride.

I remember Sammy threw a fit the first time I put him on a line and then speed raced around in a circle with me skiing along side of him until he decided to stop, now he lunges just fine. So it could just be the line she's disagreeing with.

When life gives you lemons....chuck em at whoever is giving them to you!
I don't want lemons! I want cookies!
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 02:58 AM
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Oh, if you are in a round pen then I bet that is exactly what is going on. The circles that Solon makes around me are fairly large, he'll use the majority of the arena, but his gait is smooth and balanced.

There are a lot of horses that don't like the line but do really well free longing, and you get the same benefit.

And more importantly, the line itself may be just freaking her out. And turning her butt, she's saying, hey, I'm trying to tell you something! That's when I know Solon is trying to get my attention!

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 03:06 AM Thread Starter
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no no we're not in a round pen. My friend has a flat open pasture that doubles as a riding area.
I'm just saying that free lunging in the round pen at the barn I'm boarding at where I will be bringing her won't be an option because it's too small. Caleigh can't even do it. So I'd have to turn her loose in one of the smaller outdoor pastures or the indoor arena (granted nobody is in there at the time).

Caleigh can do decent collected circles now, Sammy's learning and Sissy probably could with a little more practice, right now we're just working with getting her underneath herself.

When life gives you lemons....chuck em at whoever is giving them to you!
I don't want lemons! I want cookies!
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 03:15 AM
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Ah I see. Well, the mare you will bringing's got some baggage, poor thing. I'd definitely give the free lunge a try and see what happens. Good luck!

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 03:18 AM Thread Starter
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I will give it a try! Thanks!

When life gives you lemons....chuck em at whoever is giving them to you!
I don't want lemons! I want cookies!
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 07:07 AM
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I can only tell you what has worked for me, and how my trainer does it when he gets one like this. When you stop them on the lunge line, pull their head lightly toward you while at the same time, stepping toward their butt, arm(with whip) extended. Sort of to say-"better hide that butt or I will get it!" So, if you are going to the left, use your left hand to pull the head toward you, while you step your right foot toward the butt with right arm extended. Hard to explain, easier to show. If the butt doesn't move, you may have to smack it, but it usually only takes once! Hope it helps!

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post #9 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Tried it, with her that butt comes towards me faster with that method and in smacking it she'll hop on her front end and stomp and swish her tail. When that happens I pull her head in hard and make her pivot and back up so her butt isn't in my face.
I'm going to try the free lunge with her and see if that works at all.

When life gives you lemons....chuck em at whoever is giving them to you!
I don't want lemons! I want cookies!
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 07:21 PM
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Frank - that method doesn't really work for drafts. It's one of the times you'll find out just how quick they can spin!

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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