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post #1 of 8 Old 01-24-2010, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Lunging

Ok so, I've incountered my first problem with Bensons training, he's been doing walk/trot on the lunge for some while now and he's been doing wonderful, stoping and walking, slowing down and picking up whenever asked. So now heres the problem, for some reason the past few times I've lunged him he wont stop when asked, It seems that it started after I tried asking him to lope on the lunge, he's not quite ready for that yet but I just wanted to see how he would react. Would that have anytihng to do with his refusal to stop? Its not like he dosnt know what woah means, he used to do it on the lunge before this and he does it when I lead him. Its getting fusterating because its something so simple, help?
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-24-2010, 04:17 PM
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alot of the times that I find when lunging that the horse ends up turning off his brain. I mean how hard is it to continue to go around in circles and not think?
Make it more exciting, try doing figure 8s instead and weaving through cones....try walking in a straight line while your horse has to keep circling around you.
To me the not stopping is a sign of "oops my brain is not here right now"....I bet that if you sat down he'd come right over to you ;)
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-25-2010, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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thanks, bump
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-25-2010, 10:30 AM
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I agree just mix it up a little. Maybe have some ground poles and stuff like that to really make him think. Good luck!

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post #5 of 8 Old 01-25-2010, 10:39 AM
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Lacey used to do a similar thing, only in her case it was walking from a trot. What I did with her was that I introduced a word that means "I don't care what gait you're in, go to the one below it," I used the word "easy."
I just had her do a bunch of transitions from trot to walk, saying "easy" when I was about to have her slow down. To get her to slow down for sure I would dramatically change my own direction and yank her face around (seems kinda harsh in writing but she would not slow down any other way and it was getting not good). After about 15 transitions she had started slowing down as soon as I said "easy" so I started saying "walk" and yanking her face around becuase I want her to walk for the word walk and slow down for easy. I don't think I'm explaining this perfectly but hopefully you get the idea. It's worked great and now I don't have any issues.

You say he's young, could he be off balance at the lope and therefore having a hard time stopping? Does he only have stopping issues with the lope? If that's the case he might be off balance...

Alternately: do you always have him walk, trot, lope in the same order? Maybe he's anticipating your lope cue since he's young and probably wants to run, run, run...

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post #6 of 8 Old 01-25-2010, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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I don't think he's mentaly ready for the lope yet, this was just a few times I've tried getting him to go and it took alot, first he would just trot really fast and when he would get really fusterated he would turn his ass towards me. He's not an unwilling horse, he just don't know better.
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-26-2010, 08:24 AM
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How big is your circle? If he's on too tight of a circle that could really hinder him in picking up a lope on the lunge, not to mention being rough on his legs in general. I don't like to use anything less than a 15 foot line (so 30 foot diameter circle) and I walk maybe an 8-10 foot circle in the center to make the radius even longer. I highly recommend some kind of leg protection (boots or polos) if you aren't already using it.

Are you in a position to roundpen him at all? Does he lope in that setting? Maybe a little more perceived freedom and space will jumpstart that lope.

As for the stopping, make sure that you're body language is asking correctly. I see lots of people yelling "Whoa!" with their voices while their body language screaming "Keep Going!". Be sure that all pressure that you're putting on him is ahead of his driveline, ahead of his girthline. Pressure here will cause the horse to stop or turn, pressure behind will drive them forward. If you use a stick or whip, I might go as far as to say drop it before you stop or switch hands with it and hold it in the hand nearer his head, so that he can't be confused about what the stick is asking. When you're ready to stop, take a step towards his head, and sort of make yourself bigger, if that makes sense. Your body language is showing your intention that he stop.

So: Trotting on the lunge counterclockwise. You choose to stop. Hold whip/neutral if applicable, even drop it. Take a decent size step to the right and slightly forward. If, looking straight ahead, you're eyes would drill a hole anywhere behind his withers you're still pushing the engine forward. In the proper position, raise your energy up, make yourself "bigger," stiffer almost. Look him in the eye, and say, long and in a low tone, "Whoooaaaa." One more thing that you might do if he plows through that is hold your right arm out, parallel to the ground, and imagine that an invisible fence is coming out from your fingertips, blocking his path ahead. The arm thing worked brilliant for my first horse... had him stopping in his tracks on his butt really well. The INSTANT his feet stop, relax completely. Let your energy fall, eyes to the ground, hand down, and praise him.

I hope that made some kind of sense and might help you out a bit.
Dennis Reis does an excellent job of showing what exactly I'm trying to convey about intentions and energy. I'm trying to find a YouTube of him... but the only roundpenning-lunging vid I can find someone put music over the whole thing and you can't hear what he's saying...

On lunging in general, I agree 100% that there should be a max of 2 circles with no transition (of gait, direction, speed, or balance. Sorry, in a Dennis Reis mood today, I guess). Horses really get burned out easily with endless circles of trot. You might look into some other kinds of NH lunging. Clinton Anderson uses a method of yielding the hindquarters and facing up into a stop on the lunge that may work better for you. The Parelli circling game does something similar, I think, and many other clinicians have slight variations that might just bridge the gap in understanding for your boy.

Sorry for the novel (E-cookies to anyone who read the whole thing and understood some particle of what I'm trying to describe), and Good luck!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-26-2010, 08:43 AM
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I get a cookie! That is really great advice SR. I would say 99.9% of the time when I encounter a problem with our training I correct it automatically when I or my trainer notices a problem with my body. From the direction I positioned my feet, to my hand positioning, to the whip position, eye, neck, everything has gradual become more clear as I work with her over time. Your body signals mean so much to the horse!

Sidenote: I too have a horse that has got so much nervous propulsion in the canter. I think she is speeding up in attempts to gain balance. I would do alot of suppling exercises with her. Maybe that will help you to, as you perfect your WT and whoa??? :)
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