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This is a discussion on Lunging... within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
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    12-06-2008, 11:46 PM
Super Moderator

I've been lunging Lacy lately, just to get the sillies out since I haven't been riding as much and I've realized that I don't really know "how" to lunge.
I have a basic knowledge of it but I feel like I'm doing something wrong since I can get Lacy to go but I can't get her to slow down again. When she's tired she responds like a dream to a jerk on the lunge-line and being told to "walk" or "halt" or "easy" but when we first start out she just wants to trot (and then canter) really super fast. I don't want to just give into her because she's a genius and if I let her do it once she will never forget. She also tries to come into the circle when she thinks she's done, I usually jump at her and wave my arms to get her out again. I would wave the whip to get her out but she just thinks the whip means speed up and speed up only.
I usually lunge her in her halter with the clip on the chin ring. I tried it in her bridle once, with the clip on the bit on one side and the rope going over her head and through the ring but it pulled the bit though her mouth...
I usually use 3 trot poles (my trainer lady only has 3...) and I lay them out in the "normal" way. Last time I put them in a triangle and she seemed to focus more on that for about 5 minutes. Haha.
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    12-07-2008, 08:45 AM
Round Penning

Once a horse is up and going, and defiantely when they are kinda freaked out (which happens in alot of the cases), they don't stop...probably because they don't feel safe to stop. Horse's are herd animals, when the horse is away from his original herd, you have autimatically become his herd. Going to lunge you are asking them to leave you and run and, as you said, if he comes in you'll "jump at her and wave my arms to get her out again".
Sounds to me that he does not trust you with the lunge whip...that he's frightened and many things are going through his mind and it's nothing about "Hey, my mom is asking me to stop!" it's more or less "SOMETHING IS GOING TO EAT ME!!"

If you didn't read the link I posted first, it's definitely worth the read. ROundpenning=lunging so it's the same thing, yet doesn't need to be in a round pen and what not. It gives you a good insight on what a horse is thinking when being lunged. I personally NEVER use lunging...ever. It's way too hard on the joints and extremely bad for their mental health

If you are set on your ways to continue to lunge, then try when you want to have her stop, dropping the whip and squating down. Exhale and put your head down. The main important thing is to drop the whip. Most horses that I have seen being lunged look at the whip only as "an evil stick thing used to make me to run and also that is scary".
    12-07-2008, 03:34 PM
Super Moderator
I hardly ever use the whip at all because she doesn't need it. I just leave in on the ground at my feet in case. I was just saying that about the whip in case someone told me to wave it at her to get her out again or something.
I agree that lunging isn't the best solution but she starts crow-hopping and almost rearing if I just get on her, which is probably indicative of another problem anyway. I can stay on when she does that but I don't want to end up coming off one day and teaching her that she can get me off.
Thanks for caring, I'll see what I can do to get her trusting me more.
    12-07-2008, 04:07 PM
Bucking, crow-hopping when you first get on her can be a sign of a poor fitting, cold back, or her being completely surprised that you are on her back.

I'd check her back, legs and mouth for any soreness to rule out pain.
    12-07-2008, 04:08 PM
What your horse does when you get on can be a sign of many things one being a cold back ( mine has a cold back and I know how that can feel).
    12-07-2008, 04:22 PM
I would suggest free lunging her, first. It'll get her to pay attention to you without having something pulling on her face and distracting her.

Before I go right into it, I just want to tell you this quick story about this gelding I had.
Beautiful horse, extremely smart. Very abused and totally an emotional wreck. I would get halfway up into the saddle and he would take off at a full out run and I'd have to fight get him to stop.
So after three days of this I decided, all right, you want to run, run then. I didn't ASK him to run, I just leaped on (literally, as he was already running lol) and stayed up for the ride until he decided he had enough. Once he stopped, I let him catch his breath for a moment, then started his lesson as I would if he hadn't run in the first place. Walk, jog, lope.
Sure enough, by the end of the week he was standing there like a charm for me to mount and dismount. Why? He figured out that running away did no good. I didn't have to fight with him, he never got hurt, and he realised that he was simply wasting his energy.

The reason I brought that up is because it sounds like your horse is doing something of the same sort.
If she's running as soon as she gets into the round pen, let her go. Wait for her to finish her little rant, then do your lesson. Don't use that as her lesson, though. When she has decided that she's had enough, ask her to walk around, then jog, then lope.
If she starts running as soon as ask her to move, then keep her going. I'm curious to know if you've ever joined up with her. That might be something to try.
Keep her going, and you'll notice signs that she's asking to stop. The flicking of an ear on you, licking her lips, lowering her head. Then stop asking her to move and she should stop, but only let her to do so when you ask.

Your body position is very important with this. When you're asking her to move, keep yours back straight, shoulders back, and head up. You're the herd boss and you need your body to reflect that to her because she can't read your head. Stay position with her shoulders so you are driving her forward, and not chasing her.
When you want to her to slow down or stop, step in front of her shoulders to block her movement. It may take a while but you will begin to notice that by simply moving in front of her shoulders a step or two with bring her down from a lope to a job without you ever having to say a word. When you want her to stop, step in front and say "Whoa." with a more relaxed body position.

I would suggest just completley losing the lunging whip and simply (yeah, simply! LOL But you know..) get her to move off your body.

I disagree that lunging is hard on a mature horse, or one still growing so long as the area being lunged in is big enough that they are running completely balanced (ie/ with their feet underneath them - you see some horses lunging in a pen and their feet are towards the outside while their body is leaning inside) and not overly done.
Being chased around in the pasture and jumped on by another animals weighing a 1000lbs is much harder on them than running around in a circle.
Lunging is also a good way to keep your horse focused on you as their leader, and allows you to check for any signs of lameness before riding.

Anyhow, hopefully I helped some, and if you have anymore questions I'll try and help!
Good luck with your mare! If that's her in your avatar, she sure is a cutie! :)
    12-07-2008, 04:26 PM
Super Moderator
How would I check her for a cold-back?
Sometimes she is perfectly fine when I get on and other times she's just not. She's fine when I put the saddle on and I can brush her back and she's fine...
I have two different saddles that I can use, one came with her, the other is owned by my trainer-lady. The next time I go out I'm going to try to get some pictures of how they each fit her.

I really don't want to be a bad horse mom, I just don't know what to do.

Edit: Thanks WSArabians! I'll try that. I've free lunged her before but I never knew how to communicate with her off the line. I will definitely try that. She is the horse in my avatar. =)
    12-07-2008, 04:33 PM
I don't think you're being a bad horse mom, I just think that it might be better to solve that problem then just covering it up with lunging...but that's just my view on it.

Honestly I do not know how to test for cold back...but I'm sure someone else on here will.
    12-07-2008, 04:50 PM
Super Moderator
I want to solve the problem too, I just don't understand what her problem is in the first place. I can see there is one but I'm not sure what it's stemming from.
I know that she was really babied and spoiled by the lady who owned her her whole life before me and that she had boys ride her all the time who just hopped on and made her run...
    12-07-2008, 05:04 PM
It could just be that the last owner would get off of her and put her back if she acted up so she's doing it to test you

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