Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Central Texas, easily mistaken for a big bowl of dust!!
I honestly don't understand what some people mean when they say a horse won't pull. I understand that horses can't lean unless you give them something to lean on (that could be the bit or the halter).
But, she can't very well give him slack to prevent him from pulling if he's running straight out of the circle.
I'll also add that I use both rope and nylon web halters. I only tie with nylon though, and I never tie solid. A rope halter is just more convenient, I don't like the weight of a metal clip, and they're easier to wash. Just like nearly EVERYTHING in the horse world, they can cause pain in the wrong hands, just like a bit, crop, spurs, or a hackamore. They aren't the least bit painful unless someone pulls hard (horse or handler). Nylon web halters are easier to lean on, and bronc bands are even worse. A rope halter will encourage the horse to not lean.
Anyway, to the OP- I wouldn't lunge in a bit. I would stick with a halter, nylon or rope won't matter. Here's what I would do:
1.) If he doesn't already flex, teach him to. Stand at his girth and pick up the lead with two fingers and bring it up towards his withers. You want him to really try to get to his girth line. If he doesn't flex within a few seconds of the cue then bump, bump, bump until he does. And I don't mean to rip his head off, just a bump. Practice this on both sides. Eventually he'll learn to flex on a feel (meaning when you pick up the lead, he'll flex with little pressure.) This is a Clinton Anderson method, although I'm sure plenty of trainers do it, so maybe you can find a video.
2.) I would do yielding exercises. If he doesn't already, train him to yield his hindquarters and forequarters. There's tons of information on how to teach that.
3.) Once he is yielding pretty well, start doing sending exercises. I'd start by standing about ten feet away from a fence and sending him between the fence and yourself. Once his drive line is past you, cue him to yield his hindquarters. At first he may rush through, but he'll learn to go through slow and relaxed. Start out at a walk. Then close the space between the fence and yourself a bit and repeat.
4.) Once he has that down (meaning he's soft and doesn't pull you) move on to lunging. I would try to lunge with a line, but in the round pen at first. Start slow. When you change directions in the round pen, does he turn into you in to the fence? If he's into the fence don't allow that. Does he seem to be paying attention to you? (i.e. One ear to you, head tipped your direction) or is he looking out of the pen? If he isn't focused on you change directions, or ask for a downward transition. The more direction changes and transitions you ask for the more
focused he's going to be.
5.) Now start lunging outside. Again, START SLOW. Try using a corner or something as an aid, too. Begin in a smaller circle at a walk. Ask for a stop/direction change every now and then. Then try a larger circle at a walk, then add a trot if he's doing well. Then eventually a lope/canter. You should be able to lunge him without using a corner before too long.
If he tries pulling don't pull back. Bump him. If he isn't doing well with a step try going back to the previous step, or if you just added speed go down a gait. Obviously, Rome wasn't built in a day and this method will take a little time.
I'm not a trainer, but this has worked with horses I've had. Good luck and I hope I helped.
*Sorry for any typing errors, I'm on my smartphone*
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