Horse Doesn't Respond to Downward Transitions on Longeline - Need Help!
Hey everyone - I have a 13 yr old percheron/POA/icelandic horse cross (yes, strange I know!) named Harry Houdini, just under 14hh, who has been a pasture ornament for the last 2 years. I have had him for about a month, and while he has made huge improvements in his attitude towards me (as well as others at the barn), now that we've begun training we've begun to encounter some troubles. I really have no idea what this horse has been exposed to and what he hasn't, so we went back to the basics. He has picked up the basics of longeing pretty fast! We have only focused on walk/trot/whoa so far, and the whoa is where the problem is.
He responds really well to vocal commands as well as kissing noises - I usually bring out a whip with me but I rarely use it, as he doesn't really need it. He picks up his upward transitions, from whoa to walk, walk to trot, ect really well. I am just stuck with him on downward transitions, especially the whoa. For the first 10 minutes on the line, he has a lot of energy and is almost impossible to stop. He will not transition from trot to walk, and walk to whoa, or any other downward combo. He doesn't rear or freak out or anything like that, he just trots faster and faster and faster. I have tried stepping in front of him, spiraling him in to me, moving the whip in front of him, but he just gets faster and faster. When I ask him to whoa, I drop my line and whip hands, and lean in to stare at his hip, moving away from his shoulder (the way I was taught by a previous trainer). This works about 60% of the time, and almost never during the first 15 minute or so, when he is working out his kinks.
What am I doing wrong here? How do you all teach your horses to whoa on the longeline? Or really listen to you when you ask for a downward transition? I want to continue longeing him, as he needs the exercise and has to learn to listen to me, but I also don't want to reinforce bad habits (like not listening to me when I ask for a downward transition). This pony is a hard nut to crack - he is not the kind of animal that just give you respect and love automatically - you really have to earn it with him. We are also slowly working on the Seven Games, but am open to other respect-gaining exercises!