Horse won't stop running in the roundpen.

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Horse won't stop running in the roundpen.

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  • Running colt in round pen
  • Horse wont stop or walk on lunge or in round pen

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    10-10-2012, 01:29 AM
Horse won't stop running in the roundpen.

So I have legitimately never had a colt that I could not get stopped one way or another in the roundpen. But this one is driving me crazy!

I got hired to work with two young horses (a colt and a filly named Harvey and Carmen) out on a ranch. They are green broke (a year ago) and just sat around, so now I'm working with them. We know the majority of our groundwork, roundpenning, lunging for respect, yelding the hind/forequarters, sidepassing down the fence, sending, etc in the past couple sessions. Harvey is much more hard headed than Carmen is.

Well, even though he does the roundpen work flawlessly (The changing direction, facing me, sending, transitions) he will NOT stop when I say "Whoa". The majority of colts I have worked with, I work them long enough that when I say whoa they just yield their hindquarters, stop, and walk slowly to me. Carmen does this nicely. However Harvey just runs and runs and runs. I've tried yielding his hindquarters with the stick, and he just runs faster. I've tried doing nothing and just standing passively in the middle, and he just keeps going. Also tried getting in his "drive line" and he just change direction (No surprise since that's how I taught him to change direction) but dear god today I just walked out and left him there to run and he just kept running for another five minutes before settling and then I went back to catch him.

Anyone got an idea? O.O I was thinking maybe I should just keep him attached to a rope for now so I can folow through the "whoa" with the pressure on the halter.
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    10-10-2012, 01:45 AM
Super Moderator
I really have no helpful advice just commiseration: Lacey used to be the exact same way. She knew what "whoa" (or in our case, "ho") meant at a walk but any faster than that, allll was forgotten.

In her case though, it was mostly due to nervousness and basically "leaving" the situation mentally because she couldn't handle what I was asking for (too much "pressure"). As we got to know each other, and she learned that I was not going to ask for "too much", she calmed down quite a bit and became more "present" all the time.
I still can't get any sort of "whoa" directly from the canter and she's certainly not reliable about it at the trot, but she will reliably drop down a gait with "easy" so I just drop down through the gaits until I get her to a walk where she will stop. Most of the time, a canter-trot transition+whoa will equal a full stop but sometimes that trotting is just SO MUCH FUN.

In her case, at least, I'm sure it's largely due to her sight. Over the summer, when I had Lady, I realized just how much "normal" horses go off our body language while round penning/lunging and also how little Lacey uses my more subtle body language during those same times. Prior to Lady, Lacey has been my only round penning/lunging experience so I had no idea! Haha

While I've been yammering, two things came to mind: what is HIS body language saying? Is he excited or panicked? Is he running around "dead" - like he's not accepting external input? Or is he playful seeming? You've said what he does but what does he LOOK like while doing those things?
I would hazard that he's overwhelmed/"dead"... Maybe try toning down your body language and just see what happens?
I know sometimes I can get "harsh" with my body language and I don't even realize until I wonder why on earth Lacey is acting so nervous/tuned out with me! Then I tone it down and she returns to her usual self.

Anyway, lots of random thoughts here... sorry about that.
    10-10-2012, 02:09 AM
No worries Wallaby. My body language is pretty soft, actually trainer often says "Get more aggressive!" to me when I work with colts. Harvey, however, looks insane when he's flying around. Head up, ears forward, running...:/ Carmen does it too but as soon as I say whoa she comes to the middle, licks her lips and puts her head down...Hmmm....
    10-10-2012, 02:24 AM
Green Broke
I don't know what to suggest. I just usually let them run & stand passive in the middle until they stop on their own, but you said that doesn't work with him.
Maybe try taking him into the round pen on a lead line, and just doing some exercises (yielding the front and hind quarters, friendly games, backing up, etc...)with it on to get him listening to you.
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    10-10-2012, 02:37 AM
I'm thinking that's what I'll have to do, fly....I'm stumped with him too. He has a WONDERFUL "whoa" under saddle though. I think, maybe, he needs to learn that the round pen is not going to kill him. I suspect whoever started him did a lot of running in there...
    10-10-2012, 02:44 AM
Green Broke
I sympathize. My grey was like that when I got her. She thought all she was supposed to do in the round pen was run.
    10-10-2012, 03:41 AM
One thing you can try, and this will sound odd, is to squeeze him.

Normally, I move in a small circle 'with' the horse as he goes around, and stop moving MY feet when I want him to stop moving his. If he keeps going, you can back a step or two backwards closer to the round pen and put the lunge whip in the hand which is farthest from his direction of movement. I mena if he is circling counter clockwise, you put the lunge in your left hand..
When he has just passed your right shoulder (and you can kind of look over your shoulder and watch him pass), you swish the lungewhip back at him (swish it out behind you at his passing butt) enough to startle him. He won't like that.

Now, step one step closer to the rail (again, backing up and maintaing your facing the middle position) and wait for him to continue his circle around and when he passes your right shoulder, SWISH! That whip at his passing butt. He will leap forward and will not like that.

Step one more step closer to the rail behind you. You are tightening the "squeeze", but he may still choose to go past. If so, you know what to do.
Eventually, he will approach the tight spot and hesitate. When he does, you act real calm and turn very slowly and gently and move away from him, taking pressure off. He will hopefully latch on and follow you , at a polite walk.

Try this and let me know if it works.
    10-10-2012, 04:47 AM
Bear in mind that not everything works for everyone, not every suggestion is going to suit every training style.

I would push him forward. If you ask for woah and he doesn't woah, make him work **** hard. Then, ask for it again, letting it be a "break" where he doesn't have to work as hard. Still nothing? Push him on again. It's the same as under saddle - not listening to me means more work.
    10-10-2012, 04:51 AM
It's a little frustrating because I only get to work with these horses once a week too. The owners are not exactly quick to take the training of the horse into account, they think that one day a week should be more than enough. I've been giving the tennant (who is the one always watching me) instructions so she can work them while I'm not there too, but she's not super experienced...

Tiny and Chiilaa, I will definitely try both of these and see if he improves. :)
    10-10-2012, 10:14 AM
Super Moderator
First of all --- Is this horse really fresh and feeling good?

Does he get enough turn-out time to get all of the run and play out of his system before you try to work with him?

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