Originally Posted by Cherie
He should never change directions without you telling him to. Every move he makes on the longe line should be asked for by you.
To me longing is totally counter-productive if it is not an exercise is obedience. Shorten up your longe line until you have perfect control at a closer distance. If he just starts to turn away from you, pull him around hard and discipline him by jerking the longe line, stopping him and starting him over.
I don't know what voice commands you are using, but I would highly suggest you do not use "walk" , "trot" and "canter". If you plan on showing a horse, you do not want it to ever respond to the announcer calling out transitions. Many horses learn this any way, especially if their rider makes transitions very quickly after the announcer. This is why many riders ride on 2 or 3 strides after the announcer speaks.
Took the words straight outta my mouth, lol. Similarly I never throw a horse into a round-pin and let in run at liberty. I doubt they even have liberty horses, do that lol. Every interaction you make with your horse influences it's trainable mind. Remember that using vague or random commands (or even worse, a mixture of the two) can have serious backwards progress with its training. Your physical language must be confident at all times, and when you execute a command you must have the full force of your intention behind it. This is why working with a trainer would probably be the most productive thing for you. That way you can learn to read your horses body language better and work your horse up for success by giving him straight and direct commands on the lounge. The lounge lesson is never just 10 minutes of having your horse run in two different directions, its a chance for your horse and you to work on reading each others body language and responding to yields. This is followed up by conditioning in a certain discipline further down the road, however every lounge lesson begins the same: with communication.
Having your horse on a shorter line (a smaller circle) will give you more "contact" or "leverage" with communicating commands. Especially if the horse is green or hot-blooded in any way. Always stand at the apex of the triangle (right at their belly or "center") and drive your horse forward. Forward motion is everything, its the answer to most under-saddle problems too. If he tries to "wiggle" (demonstrate bad behavior on the lounge) then crack the lounge whip (This is not animated at all! The whip is held low by his hind legs and is cracked with a quick flick of the wrist. You will hear a distinct "cracking" sound when executed properly.) and send him forward. Eventually he will realize what you want from him is to focus on your body language and drive forward on the lounge. When you ask for a halt, stop movement with your body, if your horse does not slow then close your fingers on the line and give slight tension. Do not pull back harshly unless the horse is breaking through you. If the horse for example continues at the canter or speeds into a run, then first display a stotic and firm body language, followed by small half halts in the line (tension), if the horse still ignores you after you asked twice, then give him a yank and make it count. This is not a half-hearted pull, its an all out "I want you to stop NOW!" yank. Most horses will immediately slow or stop and most likely face you, and in this case return to your safe zone at it's center, and send them forward again; repeating the exercise until they lesson to the subtle cues you are making.
Hope that helps :)