How to get a horse to lunge? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-22-2013, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Question How to get a horse to lunge?

So I'm trying to get my horse to lunge, and it's been failed attempts. I've tried to use a whip to get him to go but when the horse was younger a person came out to do the horses moms feet and the horse shoer saw the horse (rocky) turn around in front of him and the farrier said I was disrespectful and hit a very big limb from a tree over Rocky's back, he hit rocky so hard that the limb broke. And rocky was only four months old when he did that. Now whenever rocky sees a whip or stick I'm holding near him he pulls back hard on the lead rope and freaks out. He's gotten better about it though know but I still can't get rocky to lunge. Besides, is it nessasery for a horse to lunge? I have mixed feelings about it. One time I was lunging a horse when it took a bad turn and she made a simi circle and head straight for me and then she stopped around a half a foot for me and I tried to move to her right and she got closer and acted like she was fixing to rear on top if me, then I finally got out of the way a little shocken up and once I got to her left she almost did it again and I poped her on the but with the lead rope and then she shortened her lung space and came whiten three feet of me and side kicked me. At that all happened in a matter of 45 seconds. So in iffy about lunging after that but I know I need to start lunging rocky so I can go farther with his training. So I've never taught a horse to lunge but I've watched a lot of Clint Anderson and Craig Cameron DVDs and also read books. But nothing seems to work with rocky. So how should I approach this?
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-22-2013, 02:45 PM
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No, I don't think it's absolutely necessary for a horse to be able to lunge. However, it can be helpful when introducing new concepts to start from the ground, lunge to examine a horse for lameness, etc. And while you can lunge a horse without a whip (by swinging the end of the lunge line, for example) it's also nice for a horse to be desensitized to common equipment like whips, because you never know when someone else will carry a whip near him, waving it around without paying attention to how your horse is (over)reacting.

I wouldn't recommend trying to teach a horse to lunge by yourself if you're not familiar with how to do it. It's really something you should work with a trainer on, so both you and your horse learn to do it properly.
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-23-2013, 12:28 PM
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Verona, you said it perfectly.

When I learned how to lunge a horse, it was a spoiled rotten, pushy, mean horse, me, and a whip. I had watched some videos and just went from there. I learned how to lunge on my own, but it's different for every person. Like Verona said, it would be nice if he was desensitized to the whip before you use it with him. Also, when you are first beginning to learn how to lunge, it helps if you have a round pen until you are more advanced.

I hope I helped some. :)
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-23-2013, 01:26 PM
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I agree with the above posts in regards to getting a trainer to assist. It is an important skill to have, but very hard to teach it on your own.
Lunge is good and it allows the rider to see the horses free movement, good to spot injury or to exercise without being on top. Ground manners are very important when dealing with horses, as like you said before, they can turn on you if you don't have the knowledge to send them in another direction.
A few tips I have would be to always keep the line taught, slack in the line can cause a tripping hazard to you, as well as the horse does not have any sort of contact on his face, which is important because you need to have control.
I always try and stand at the shoulder line (much like when just leading) and not let the horse go to forward, or slug behind. I also move my feet quite a bit, but not in a huge circle, they stay at one spot and I just turn around.
I also make a V shape with the whip and lunge line, and always trail the whip behind but never use it. It acts a reassurance so the horse knows that he is working. By creating a V with the line, it almost makes a box around the horse, where you have control. If hes too slow you can bring the whip a little closer and if he's to forward then you can move the whip back to let him relax.
When I familiarize horses with whips I start very slow, keep the whip on the ground and allow the horse to walk by it many times, then gently pick it up but always hold it a little bit behind you so he doesn't get startled. Once he is more comfortable with the whip, then you can start to fully pick it up. I rub it on the horses legs to begin and once you are able to touch all of his legs with the whip then I would move up to his side, and eventually over his back and his head. By touching him with the whip I mean literally just rubbing the whip over his body. Once he learns it is not a weapon he will learn to trust it more, thus allowing him to work calmly with the whip in his presence.

Hopefully some of these tips help you as they have helped me :)
Good luck
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-24-2013, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Ok this is all great advice thanks :)
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-25-2013, 08:23 PM
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I'm certainly no expert, but for whip/limb issue, I would suggest desensitizing him by running the lunge whip over his body softly and calmly, like petting him with it, in contexts other than working. It'll take a while if he's really scared, but you could start by just carrying it with you to the pasture, then after a few days walk up to him holding it, and then try to start touching him. I (think I) once got a horse over a whip fear by doing this.

"...and may your life be filled with good horses." Buck Brannaman

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