Lunging Issues?

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Lunging Issues?

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    05-28-2012, 01:37 AM
Lunging Issues?

I have had my horse since he was 6 months old.
When he was around 2 I started lunging him daily & he did wonderful.
When he was around 3 Old enough to be broke I started him under saddle & lunged him to do this. Once I Was able to start riding him I started training him undersaddle while being ridden & I Had to quit lunging Because my parents started building our house & the Area I lunged him was Used for Building materials. Well Now I have My Space back & Im having Problems Lunging him & I Really need to.
When I take him out to the Spot where I lunge him on a lunge line
(i don't have a round pen) He Faces me & I can't get him to move.
So I keep trying & trying I tap him on the shoulder to get him Move his Body out & he usually refuses & if I keep asking Clucking & tapping he Gets Mad Lays His ears back & runs at me Or he will rear Up.
Sometimes I can Get him to move out & walk But when I ask for a trot or canter He Rears Or Bucks Or he will Get compeletey out of control & Start Galloping around me & then Try to take off & drag me off.
I have to admit He makes me nervous Because Im constantly Worried he's going to Rear up & come at me. The other day I had him going great at a trot (he was going for like 2-3 mins) & then he just stopped faced me & would Not move anymore I kept asking & asking & he Laid his ears Back Reared up & then Came at me With his teeth Bared.
He Rides Great But he can be stubbron at times The Reason I need to Lunge him is to get out his extra energy & to do some extra training.
He also Rears Up if I try riding him in grass & I wont Let him Stop & eat.
He trys to Eat & I pull his head back up so he paws & paws & I try to get him moved & he Rears.

He has No health Issues he's seen The farrier & the Vet & he's Been Given a Clean Bill of health.
My farrier Watched me Ride him & he said he's doing it because he knows he can get the best of me.

When he rears It scares me to death & I start shaking & get really upset
So I have to ride down my drive way where theres no grass or get off.

My boyfriend Can ride him anywhere & he doesnt rear up But No one can get him to lunge
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    05-28-2012, 01:46 AM
It sounds like he has no respect for you :/

Gain his respect back by correcting poor behaviors, reinforcing good ones, and keeping strict boundaries.

Forward forward forward. If he's rearing on the ground, smack his hiney (stay out of kicking distance) and make him move out. If he kicks at you, slap the ground and get him to move away. If he faces his butt at you, twirl a leadrope and get him to yield it to you.

I think you need to work on ground manners on a leadrope before you try lunging.

Is there a trainer that can help you? Maybe the farrier knows someone?
    05-28-2012, 02:10 AM
The Thing I can't Understand Is He respects me When he's Tied,Being led & ridden(unless im riding in grass).
He has good ground manners But when he knows its lunging time he Doesnt want any part of it.

Theres not alot of horse people in my area All the Trainers Only want to work with English Riders or horses that are being trained for a english disipline.(Theres One training barn Close enough I could ride him to it but she wont work with my horse I have already tried) My Farrier Knows how to Train Horses but he has horses of his own that he is working with & He comes A pretty good distance just to trim my horses feet as it is. I will ask him next time I talk to him anyways.
Other than that I have asked Everyone I know that knows how to work with horses & None one is interested. They all tell me That They Have too many to work with as it is or they Just don't have time.

At the moment I don't have my own Trailer to take him any where either :/
So Im Basically Stuck Doing it myself.

My Step dad has worked with a few horses & knows how but He tells me I need to Suck it up & do it myself

I Broke him to ride all by myself With People just telling me what to do & I think I did a Good job on him So Its Not That I can't do it I just need to know How to go about doing it & I didnt used to be scared of him
But since the whole rearing thing I devoloped a fear.
I used to be able to stand up to him if he bucked me or acted up I Stood up to him & he quit. I guess maybe im thinking about what he's going to do too much & Over stressing about it & making my fear worse.
    05-28-2012, 02:21 AM
I think he may seem like he respects you when the halter is on, but I think that's only because he's learned that he has to no matter what.. but freely he doesn't, which is where a horse shows their true colours IMOP.

So review some ground exercises in halter and rope. Some of these include, leading, yielding body parts to you (hind, neck, head, etc.), turns on the haunches/forehand, then work on sending.

Sending is SO important, and will likely help with his goofiness whilst lunging.

Then when you can do that, work on a lungeline and send him over poles, through obstacles, w/t/c, change of direction.

Then.. try free lunging and see if that helps.

Correct his naughty behavior out in the field too. I always carry a halter and leadrope (or at least a rope) and I'm not afraid to use them. If that doesn't work, a crop whip/lunge whip/dressage whip or a bucket will work too.

It seems mean but it isn't. Horses in a herd have a herd leader, and you throwing a bucket or smacking with a crop isn't nearly as painful as a horse kicking the other in the shoulder. And a dangerous horse comes easily with ones that have no respect for their people..

But you have to send the message: I am herd leader, you will respect me and in turn I will respect you.
    05-28-2012, 02:54 AM
Ok I Understand what your saying now.
Thanks I Will take your advice & work with him on these things before lunging.

Before When he disrescted me I would give him a slap in the chest & firmly say "No" But I was Then told Not to that I needed to put him to work when he disrespected me. The Lady that Told me to Give him a slap on the chest & say No Also said If he gets too bad to tie him up for a 5 min time out. But I thought that may be a Stupid Idea Because then he's getting what he wants Which is to stand Still & not be bothered & its not like he's a child that going to sit there & think about what he did wrong. But then again maybe it could work.
    05-28-2012, 02:57 AM
Originally Posted by SplashedOvero    
Ok I Understand what your saying now.
Thanks I Will take your advice & work with him on these things before lunging.

Before When he disrescted me I would give him a slap in the chest & firmly say "No" But I was Then told Not to that I needed to put him to work when he disrespected me. The Lady that Told me to Give him a slap on the chest & say No Also said If he gets too bad to tie him up for a 5 min time out. But I thought that may be a Stupid Idea Because then he's getting what he wants Which is to stand Still & not be bothered & its not like he's a child that going to sit there & think about what he did wrong. But then again maybe it could work.
There are many ways to correct a horse :) I don't think slapping their chest is a very good one, imop.. but tying a horse for a long time can teach them patience but I wouldn't do this with your guy because you're right.. he'd be getting what he wants.

I'm all about more work corrections, before physical corrections. But if a horse is being dangerous, then you need to correct that right away in such a way they won't do it again.
    05-28-2012, 03:05 AM
Lunging him a lot when he was young might have been a bit of a mistake. IT can sour a horse to being lunged, and now that he is older, he is willing to try standing up to you. And your experience of fear and backing down has only made him bolder. Now, I don't blame you for backing down. Having a horse bare his teeth and come at me would be a very scary situation.
I would not pick a fight like this wiht a horse unless I was certain that I could win it. You are not certain. Every time you lunge him with the uncertainty of who will win, then he will likely win and it strengthens his feeling that you have no right to mkae him move.

When things get to this point, I think you need to have help. If you must lunge him, then get your boyfriend to help you. Have a long dressage whip and wear gloves and maybe your helmet. If the horse comes toward you, you take the whip and wave it really fast in front of you, between you and him, such that it makes a good whirring sound. When the horse jumps, you hang on and let him give himself a big jerk on the rope. Keep asking for forward, and get him going so he's not pinning his ears or giving you the stink eye. Once you get a bit of HONEST forward, quit and act with him as if none of this ever happened.

But, honestly, if there is any option for getting help from a more confident hand, take it.
    05-28-2012, 03:08 AM
With regard to hitting a hrose; if the horse comes in at me, past my warning him with my body, then with the whip, and if he comes in with a hard, mean attitude,
He will get hit with a hard, mean whip and I mean crack! Not an open palmed slap on his chest. If it doesn't startle him out of his crazy thinking of biting me, then it's not enought. He has to go like, "WTH!!!??? What was that? Ok, I am all ears now."
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    05-28-2012, 05:38 AM
Hmm, you're in a difficult situation, without any good support. Horse training can be a dangerous game anyway, especially with dominant types, even when not flying solo without experience. So my number one advice is to listen to your gut and keep safety in mind at all times - don't let others tell you you 'should' suck it up or such. And continue searching for someone good & considerate to help you.

Agree with Tiny on all fronts, except that I wouldn't even bother trying to lunge, for now at least. While I don't agree with using punishment as a general rule, I'm not at all against using it when I feel the need, especially when it is about protecting myself. So saying, I too wouldn't pick a fight, especially with a horse who seems a dominant type. You can well just fan the flames of a horse like this by being impertinent enough to challenging him. Therefore I'd only use physical punishment where absolutely necessary for safety & if you do, use it HARD. Then hopefully it will buy you time to teach the horse better manners.

I too think lunging the horse a lot, especially when he was so young was not a good move, for physical, not just mental ones. Immature joints and tendons can be damaged with lots of circle work. I also don't agree generally with lunging a horse for exercise or to 'get rid of extra energy'. For one, the regular exercise will only make him fitter, so it takes longer to wear him out. For 2, mindless circles don't help instil a positive attitude in your horse for doing as you ask, more often they make him 'sour' and want to get away from you.

So I would definitely forget about lunging him, at least until such time as you have a good respectful relationship with him and I would only use lunging to teach/reinforce communication with him, not as a drudge.

The term 'respect' is an ambiguous one that grates on me personally, but it doesn't sound like he respects you at all. It sounds more like he tolerates you until you want him to do something he doesn't want, then throws a fit, which apparently works for him. Your fear, regardless of how you act, IMO will prevent him gaining respect for you, because I believe trust is a necessary ingredient in respect - he can't trust you as a worthy leader to look out for him, because you're scared. Therefore, safety aside, I don't think it's productive to try to push yourself through it & ignore your fears. I think taking it slow enough as to gain confidence gradually without going over any emotional cliffs, and developing a mutually rewarding relationship is the way to go about it.

I suggest you look into 'clicker training'. Remember also that while an actual clicker & other specifics people may use are useful tools, they're not necessary & it's the *principles* behind the techniques that are most important.
laceyf53 likes this.
    05-28-2012, 10:43 AM
I've had horses react like that in the past. It's scared the bejesus out of me the first time one barreled straight at me with it's teeth inches from me. Very scary.

I don't know your abilities, so please do what you feel is safest for yourself. No horse is worth getting hurt (and you can get seriously hurt).

What I did, was to start from the very basics again. I had a longer lead rope attached to his halter and we practiced moving out of my space for 10 minutes every day. I'm only 4'11'', so most horses ignore me when I walk toward them.

Stand slightly to the side of the horses head, do not stand directly in front of the horse. When asking the horse to back up, include the word "Back" so you can associate the word with the desired response.

What works is to raise my hands to his head level and shake the rope. If no backward movement, then I swing the rope in front of me. If they still won't back, I'll let the rope whack them in the head. This caused a bit of aggression from some of the horses I've worked with, so be prepared for an unexpected response the first time. Some just back without an issue, so it's hard to say what might occur. Keep the pressure on for the horse to move back though.... and as soon as they give you a step, praise and let them stand there a moment. Every time the horse moves out of your space, praise and release all pressure to back. As he gets better, ask for a few more steps, and a few more, until he can give you a good 5-10 steps back without being resistant.

I usually use a chain over the nose to gain a bit more leverage on difficult horses (slid through nearest ring, over nose and through far ring, then up the cheek strap to attach to the cheek ring toward the crown.).

Basically, anything you can do to get that horse's feet to move AWAY from you. Move the horse backward, make him move his shoulders away from you, ask him to move his butt away from you (stay out of kicking range). Do this every single day, 5-10 minute sessions, for a a couple of months. Once he's good with moving away from you and respecting your space, THEN you can try the lunge line again.

Make the horse pay attention to where you are and to get out of your way no matter what. He has to move away from you. Always. If he steps one foot toward you, back him up, or send him out. Do whatever is necessary to make yourself seem like the biggest, baddest, mo-fo in the entire world so that your horse thinks "crap, she wants to stand where I am then I BETTER move away". Growl, swing the rope at him (he'll live if it whacks him in the face, he shouldn't have gotten in your way), pop him with the rope on the chest or shoulder (depending on where you want him to move), use your arms above your head to increase your height, use your chain on his nose if need be (don't use it as the 'go to method', just to reinforce your body motion).

What you're trying to teach him is that YOU are alpha mare, and he is lower on the pecking order. Right now, he's alpha and he's trying to teach you your place in the herd (beneath him).

It doesn't take much force, but you do have to make yourself appear aggressive, and bigger than life. Use the rope as a tool to increase your size, use your arms, reinforce your commands with the chain if need be. If he rears, let him rear and when he comes back down then really get after him for it (you've lost all control the moment he rears, and you have none until his feet touch the ground again).

You need some good books on re-training horses. Maybe a few video's. I'll see if I can find some video's....

Get him to respect your space, and your lunging sessions will improve. Right now, you're attempting to drive the horse forward around you and your horse is laughing at you. He doesn't respect your space, he doesn't respect you. Don't even try lunging until he's good at moving away from you at all times. Then you can try lunging again.

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