First you gotta teach him to go around you.
Pressure and release is the A and O of horse training, and it works here too. Get a set of signals, keep them consistent, and be quiet when your horse does what he is supposed to do. I raise both my lunge arm and my whip arm as my signal for go.
I am touching the whip to his butt just a little.
He starts moving forward, and I immediately and very obviously let both my arms drop (Pressure and Release).
He turns his head in, wanting to stop and I bring the whip out to keep him moving forward.
He is moving out real nice and I drop the whip behind me in reward.
He's getting the idea and I let him out a little, just enough to still be in easy reach should he give me trouble. You can see his head is turned in, looking for his chance to stop, and my whip is out a little, instructing him to keep going.
He is obedient, and moves off nicely, and I immediately drop the whip behind me.
These signals that I am teaching him here are the ones that will save my butt when I get to the trouble spots
Next you'll want him to move at the end of the line. This step is not something I could demonstrate with pictures. Click on the picture for a link to the 3MB vid clip. [/color]
It is natural for Goof to attempt to lean on the line, especially into the direction where the other horses are. The gate is to the left and his buddies are behind the video camera. He is leaning into both directions.
Watch his head. You'll see that I don't pull on the line in constant pressure, but in a series of gentle, but insistent tugs.
On the sides where he is not leaning, I keep the lunge line loose and my body position relaxed and rewarding.
Additionally, as long as he's moving forward, the whip is behind me.
This is something that will take days to explain, with a little headway made each time. But if you're consistent, your horse will soon travel around the lunge line without leaning on you.
The most common lunge line problem...Stop and face
Pressure and Release fixes this problem too. As long as your horse is faced towards you, pressure him with the whip to move. As soon as he moves into the right direction release all pressure and let him go.
1. Goof stops and faces me.
I gently and insistently wave the whip, moving toward him slowly to increase the pressure of my command.
2. He refuses to take a step, so I additionally raise my line arm, keep stepping towards him, and also move towards his side a little to make the command crystal clear.
3. He thinks about it for a few moments, but then decides it might be a good idea to move on. I immediately drop my whip behind me.
4. He might decide to move into the wrong direction. At that point I additionally put pressure on the halter. I usually have to walk up and get to the correct side again, but during all that I try to keep the halter and whip pressure on as good as I can, till he starts moving into the right direction.
5. Using this insistent Pressure and Release method will teach him not to face any more very, very soon. Matter of fact, that same day, once we got the other side explained, he sweetly trotted around without facing up once.
The most annoying lunge line problem... Run Backwards Drama
Yes, horse can be drama queens, and I handle them just like the human ones... with a blank face *Grin*.
Most of this is pretty self explanatory. But let me just point a few things out.
As he runs backwards I try as hard as I can to stay relaxed. My shoulders are down, I try to keep up with him but not go towards him any more than I have to, my whip is behind me. He finally stops (somewhere between 4 and 5) and I calmly use my go forward signal to get him to move out again. In pic 5 he's moving nicely, and I have already dropped the whip behind me again.
This little drama takes quite a bit of energy for a horse, and if you can keep from getting sucked into the Hoopla, they will not try it very often. It's just a lot easier to do what he's told.
If your horse knows how to lunge, but you are having problems,
The first thing I'd check is your position in relationship to your horse...
If he perceives that you are in front of him, he will assume you want him to stop. So you want to stay slightly behind his eye.
A human naturally wants to line himself up with the horse's head (because you are connected to the head w/ the lungeline). But that puts you into the forward line of sight of the horse, which a horse understands as the signal to stop.
To stay in the backward line of sight of your horse, line yourself up with your horses hind end.