Lunging a lunger?

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Lunging a lunger?

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    04-08-2010, 07:22 PM
Green Broke
Lunging a lunger?

Hey, guys. Well, my aunt has an awesome TWH mare, but she is a HORRIBLE trail horse with ALOT of energy. She doesn't walk, she sometimes gaits, or she does this canter/gait that feels like a carousel horse which nearly chunks you off. Long story short, she is VERY difficult to ride, and it's not fun to ride her. My aunt loves her with all her heart, but is probably going to sell her because she isn't a trail horse. I told her i'd work with Dixie(the mare) and see if I could get anywhere with her. I rode her today, and she was half-bolting the whole time and was tensing up like she wanted to buck, so I thought, "why not lunge to get rid of some energy"? Well, after about 3 circles, she lunged at me. I shoed her back and kept going, and she ended up doing it two other times. I feel like lunging can help her blow off some steam, and i'd really like for my aunt to be able to keep her. So, have any of you had a "lunger" before? If so, how did you work through it? Thanks! And cookies if you made it through this!
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    04-08-2010, 07:29 PM
I will watch this thread becaus eit's interesting, but one comment, with no offence to you, but she sure sounds "awesome"...........
    04-08-2010, 07:49 PM
Get an experienced trainer or sell her, end of discussion.
    04-08-2010, 08:00 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by thunderhooves    
I will watch this thread becaus eit's interesting, but one comment, with no offence to you, but she sure sounds "awesome"...........
I know she sounds psycho, but she really is a great horse. She's one of the sweetest horses i've ever met, and today is the only time she's ever given me any trouble on the ground. I guess that's why I was so dumbfounded. I believe that if she could get rid of some energy before riding, she'd be a much more pleasurable trail mount. Like I told my aunt, I am going to try my best to help Dixie come around. If I can't, I can't. But i'm going to try because I love Dixie and so does my aunt. Roro, I appreciate your input, but I didn't ask if I should get a trainer or sell her, I asked how to work with a horse who charges, other than lunging back at them.
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    04-08-2010, 08:08 PM
Yes, I know you didn't ask that. I was considering your safety and what you can do and a trainer or selling is the best option in my opinion. Chargers can get very dangerous very quickly.
    04-08-2010, 08:13 PM
I don't think you can lunge a horse to blow off steam and teach it respect at the same time. I also don't think that it is an attractive thing when people brag about being able to sit down, read, or pretty much ignore their horse while it is lungeing around them. Lungeing can definitely be a platform to teach respect, among other things, but it should involve both parties being actively engaged and focused. You are going to have to nip the problem in the bud as soon as you see or feel her intention to charge you, and the only way to do so is to be competely focused on her movements so you can correct them before they have already begun to occur. Let's say you decide to lunge her using a line, and let's say you decide to do it in an enclosed area. There should be tension in your line at all times, not excessive tension, but most certainly a feel for her head. No loops, whirls or what have you. Arms, just like when riding, should be controlled, close to the hips. You should be able to feed and collect rein with your whip hand as needed. Your positioning should remain behind the driving line (at least where the girth attaches) and it should not vary much, because though it may not seem like it, the horse will notice your positioning. Now, we know your horse does not need much gas. So although I still recommend you carry a whip, I advise it be pointed at the shoulder, mostly. This will encourage her to stay out on the circle. When you have a horse that has alot of go, more often then not, they seem markedly straight thoughout the body. When you look at a TB while racing, you can notice they have a tendency to "lock" up, in this position. So getting a slight bend in her without allowing her to turn in would be ideal. A horse running like this around the ring will most certainly give you signs he/she intends on turning in. You just have to have enough follow through to notice this right away and flick the whip at her shoulder to keep her out. If she turns in takes steps towards you, this is blatantly disrespectful of your space. Own your space but don't start any battles you don't intend on winning. If you were just another horse, you have to ask yourself, who would move first?
    04-08-2010, 08:15 PM
I would be pretty sure saying that you are dealing with some physical issues here that are causing extra behavior problems, insecurity under saddle, etc.

If I'm right, the extra energy isn't just extra energy, its an souped up defensive system exercising fight and flight reflexes to overcompensate for the body that isn't capable of responding as well as it could. Sorry if that sounds like a mouthful, but I've seen it plenty of times. The "super sweet" horse that has a lot of energy and then when pushed from the ground gets aggressive, is most commonly a physical imbalance in my experience. It would also make sense with her rough gate. You don't have to see an obvious limp for a horse to be in pain, it can often be postural or diagonal issues that are invisible to many people.

Here is the hard part, it usually takes more than a simple body worker fix. You first have to deal with the leadership issues. A horse in physical distress is going to test their leader much stronger than a confident horse and much more frequently. They have to be sure that the leader is capable of taking care of them when their "fight/flight" reflex is compromised. Unfortunately, you usually have to defend yourself pretty assertively against an insecure horse. You have to have their trust in order for them to allow you to help them, and this can mean using quite a bit of force on your part. You then have to be able to recognize and fix the issue, this again takes a different kind of skill. It involves being able to listen to the horse and guide the horses body to physical strength.

There are other ways to work on behavioral without the physical, but you will always run into holes with the gait if this is the issue. Again, I couldn't be sure without seeing the horse, but the scenario sounds all to familiar to me, as it sounds like most of the horses that I work with. I do think that it would be beneficial to you to find a trainer to help. Do you have any pictures of the horse?
    04-08-2010, 08:18 PM
Green Broke
Seahorseys-thanks so much for that detailed response. Very helpful! :]
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    04-08-2010, 08:27 PM
Green Broke
Okay, so I just went to go check her out since I began to think physical issues. I pressed all around her back, and didn't get any response, but as soon as I got out the saddle and set it on the fence, she began begging, holding up a foreleg. I'm wondering if it's back, or maybe belly, or maybe just her age. I'm calling my aunt, hopefully she'll get the vet out. Talk about guilt for blaming it on the horse. Thanks for everyone's input, I really appreciate it!
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