For a first time I've had horses that Join Up within half an hour, and I've had horses that to this day won't show the "signs" of Joining Up at all. It works with alot of horses, but there are some that just don't catch on...I'll get their inside ear but no lip movement or head dropping at all. They just think I'm lunging them! LOL
I'm assuming you're trying it with your horse? How old is it?
Depends on the horse. My filly stella will do it within minutes but she loves people. My horse Onyx on the other hand was abused... so the first time I tried it he sorta lowered his head but when I let him stop he wouldn't walk up to me without me stepping towards him first. I have had him for like 6 months now and he will now join up within minutes. It just takes time with some horses. And some horses won't ever do it right.
Not me. My filly does really well with join up and follow up. It's my cousin's filly. I think last night that it took close to 30 minutes to get her to show signs, lowering head, ear, and licking lips. I wasn't sure my cousin was going to stick with her. But she did. Ps. Her filly is a yearling.
I tried joining up with my trakner gelding. He's super lazy and would even leave the middle of the round pen without me flicking a whip at him (which I kno your not supposed to use) he gave me his ear but no head lowering or licking his lips.
A few notes about join-up
Work in an enclosed area where there are no other people or horses.
Keep his pace brisk, trot/canter.
Make him move in both directions.
Talk to him with a firm voice.
Watch his eyes, ears mouth and even nostrils
Don't ever hit him. If he won't move away from a swinging rope, try a lunge whip aimed at his feet.
Don't assume he hasn't joined up just because he doesn't give you all the signals, every horse is different so is how they ask for join-up.
Don't let him turn and face you head on, this is a defiant act and must not be tolerated.
Don't expect him to do all the work, you need to push him away and that could involve chasing after him.
Once he has signaled you don't make eye contact again for the rest of the session, unless it fails.
Don't look back to see if he is coming to be with you, just listen for him.
You don't have to have a round pen, but the smaller the working area is, the easier it is to keep your horse focused on you.
If your horse doesnt move towards you after join-up take a few steps away from him to see how he responds.
If he still does not respond with follow-up approach him slowly and stroke him softly from his shoulder to his rump on both sides then turn and move away.
If there is still no follow-up it is best to retry the session because the join up wasn't fully sucessful.