Originally Posted by sarahver
Depending on the horse, they may pick this up in a few days or take longer than a month to fully comprehend.
Good description sara. To the above, I'd say it depends on the trainer & their method more than the horse
When you start doing this, make sure that someone is at the horse's head as well as driving from behind, both as a comforter for the horse and also for additional control in case the horse takes off. Bear in mind that they do not know what a stop signal is yet
I've rarely ever had anyone to help me train, so never ground driven with someone at the horse's head. If the horse does spook, for one I start in a small enclosure, so I can safely let go the reins if needed, and secondly, if they get 'difficult' I will drop one rein and bend them, which affords enough control to at very least have them lunging around me until they calm a bit. I personally don't teach lunging & long reining until the horse has learned how to yield well to pressure - these exercises are a progression of the basics - so the horses I teach do indeed understand how to stop, start, turn, etc before I get to that stage.
We have been lunging him for a few months. He is responding to commands fairly well. Still can be strong when he has had enough. Only comes in when he feels like it, .... A bit spooky and will kick out occationally if he does'nt see you coming behind him. ....As I have been assured we are off our rocker.
As I teach lunging as a progression of the basics(essentially learning to do what they've already learned at a distance), I would personally consider the horse wasn't up to lunging yet, or I was going about something wrongly if I was still having lunging problems after weeks, let alone months(of course, that depends on how much time it has amounted to as well).
Some horses just have a more 'spooky' personality and may always be flighty & need extra careful, considerate training. It's also natural for a prey animal to 'spook' & react to surprises. That said, I personally work on their trust and attitude towards me first & foremost, and that remains a big focus in whatever I do. So I would prove(with gradual desensitisation, approach & retreat tactics) that I & my 'toys' & 'games' weren't something to worry about, regardless of what I was doing, where I 'popped up'. I would also make sure the horse sees me as a Good Thing in his life and *wanted* to be with me, come to me, play my games. Rather than just seeing it maybe as the better 'evil' when he doesn't have much choice. I use a lot of positive reinforcement(reward) training, and this really helps with the attitude
. I don't bother teaching them anything else much without that foundation established, and at any time, if that begins to waver, I take the time to work out what's needed to re-establish it.
As for people thinking you're off your rocker
, while I don't think it's a good idea to try to tackle the job on your own without *good* help when you're not experienced - it's very easy to stuff up a good horse, as your trainer has found - I'd take that as more of an indication of those people's skill & knowledge about training & horse behaviour than a true reflection about you guys.