Lunging help? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 07-11-2010, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Lunging help?

My 10-year-old Thoroughbred cross is terrified of lungeing. I suspect he's had bad experiences lungeing, because, althoug he does seem to understand what's expected of him, he gets too antsy and nervous to concentrate, even to the point of sweating up. Lungeing usually ends in him bolting. For that reason, I've stopped doing it.

However, there are times when I would like to lunge him before riding, or be able to take a lunge lesson. Any advice on restarting him on the lunge? Is it worth it?
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post #2 of 4 Old 07-11-2010, 09:26 AM
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You could always have someone help you. when my gelding gets excited I have someone else on the outside with another lead walking him as I am lunging him. with that extra person you have more control plus he feels more calm. after a few times aroundd you can ussually un clip the lead and he has a better mindset. always works for me! (you can adjust that routine so that it works for your boy better)
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post #3 of 4 Old 07-11-2010, 04:20 PM
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If you have access to a round pen, I'd start by doing some natural horsemanship free rope. Use your body pressure and perhaps a long rope/lariat or a lunging whip to help move him where you want him to go. If he bolts around the round pen a hundred miles an hour, that's ok. Just be conscious of your body pressure and make sure he's moving in the direction you want him to go. If he tries to turn on his own, turn him back around and make him wait until you ask him to stop. I would not put a lunge line back on him until he can free lunge with no problems.
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post #4 of 4 Old 07-11-2010, 09:54 PM
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You can actually do the same deal on the line as in the round pen - to a large extent.

What you want to do is start a new program for your horse, starting with a new dialog for how you ask it to do what you want.

I re-train lunging starting by re-teaching leading. If your horse leads from your body alone (so the halter and rope are more or less an ornament... something you carry but don't "need") then it will learn to lunge much easier.

Once the horse is leading well and following my body language, I'll start paying out line and applying energy to the girth area (this tells my horse I want it to bend it's rib cage and begin a circle) and the flank, alternating as I need to create impulsion or fix bend to keep the horse moving in a circle. At this point I'm still going to walk "beside" my horse (so not just standing still in the middle), periodically I will take up a "leading" position again and ask the horse to be beside me... then ask them to move out ... and then begin asking them to stay out even while I stand in the center of their circle. I start at a walk and when we can manage the walk, with whoa... then I'll start on the trot.

Using this method I've found it takes minutes for the horse to understand the concept... and nobody gets "excited". I've used this for horses who are "lunge sour", confused, whip shy, or simply been allowed to goof off on the line (and therefore have learned to bolt, rear, buck etc. while on the line)... as well as for horses who have never lunged before in their life.
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