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Lunging trouble..recently?

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  • Lunging my unbroke horse in corral

 
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    08-21-2011, 02:32 AM
  #1
Yearling
Lunging trouble..recently?

So I have had my six year old quarter horse mare a little over a year. When I first bought her she was unbroke, no ground respect etc etc..well I tought her how to lunge and she usually didn't give to too hard of a time (going to the left every once and a while) and she would always move out when asked. Well she had a foal so once he was two months I started working her on the line again (which is hard because the colt kept close lining himself >.< My goober) and she still did it without a fuss. Well the past month, every time I try to lunge her, she just stands there when I ask her to move! I can wave my whip throw my leadrope jump around like a chicken and she won't budge. I don't understand the problem. Does anyone have any advice on how to get her to move out again, or reasons why she stopped listening? I want to teach her voice commands to finish her under saddle..
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    08-21-2011, 04:44 AM
  #2
Foal
I don't know why she stopped listening to you but I was helping someone out with a mare that would also refuse to budge.

First things first, look at yourself and make sure you aren't making any mistakes or giving conflicting signals (not saying that you are but its always my first option - too look at myself for the problem before the horse).

Then, with this mare, who was just stubborn and had learnt that if she just stood there, her rider would eventually give up. So I decided to go in a step wise fashion with her. I was lunging with a long rope (not a lunge line) but no whip (just what I happened to be using at the time).

So the step wise fashion of asking the mare to move forward was:

1. Slightly lift the arm holding the lunge rope (if I was asking her to go to the right this would be my right arm) and gesture with it (hold it slightly away from the body, towards the right) to show her which direction I want her to go.

2. Ask her to walk on.

3. Got no response, so upped the pressure by swinging the excess rope I had in my left hand. Repeated walk on command.

4. Still no response, moved the swinging rope closer to her. Repeated walk on command.

5. Still no response, let the swinging rope hit her shoulder (not beating her with it) and again repeated the walk on command. With this particular mare, I'd been warned she kicked out so that was one reason I went for the shoulder not the hindquarters, and also, the girl had done lots of Parelli with her and any pressure on her hindquarters and she just yielded them away from me and ending up facing me head on.

6. Mare moved forward, immediately took of the pressure and stopped swinging the rope. Initially she only moved a step or two before stopping but just repeated the process. I went up to step 5 twice and from then, the mare either responded to the walk on command, or occasionally, if she returned to being stubborn, to the swinging rope.

The girl I was helping got very upset with me because I 'hit' her horse. I had to explain that I wasn't abusing her horse, but that you had to escalate the pressure in a step wise fashion (very important to give the horse the opportunity to respond to lighter pressure) until they respond.

Its pointless doing what the girl was doing, which was just swinging the rope more and more but never escalating until it touched the horse because the mare just learnt to out-wait the girl. You have to keep it up until they respond and they quickly learn to respond to lighter pressure. Its an important differentiation from abusing/beating the horse.

I'm not sure if this will help at all since I don't know how you are lunging and what equipment but the basic principles are the same. Ask, tell, demand. Just keep upping the pressure until she responds and she'll quickly return to the obedient mare you had before.
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    08-21-2011, 04:47 AM
  #3
Foal
Forgot to add, obviously, as always, rule out pain/physical problems before anything else - especially if its a recent thing.
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    08-21-2011, 12:45 PM
  #4
Yearling
From what I can tell, she is physically fine. No limping or favoring a foot..that's just me checking her. And that's usually what I do, only at the hind quarters but she just stands there and takes it
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    08-21-2011, 12:56 PM
  #5
Yearling
From what I can tell, she is physically fine. No limping or favoring a foot..that's just me checking her. And that's usually what I do, only at the hind quarters but she just stands there and takes it
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    08-21-2011, 06:48 PM
  #6
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by munschk    
So the step wise fashion of asking the mare to move forward was:

1. Slightly lift the arm holding the lunge rope (if I was asking her to go to the right this would be my right arm) and gesture with it (hold it slightly away from the body, towards the right) to show her which direction I want her to go.

2. Ask her to walk on.

3. Got no response, so upped the pressure by swinging the excess rope I had in my left hand. Repeated walk on command.

4. Still no response, moved the swinging rope closer to her. Repeated walk on command.

5. Still no response, let the swinging rope hit her shoulder (not beating her with it) and again repeated the walk on command. With this particular mare, I'd been warned she kicked out so that was one reason I went for the shoulder not the hindquarters, and also, the girl had done lots of Parelli with her and any pressure on her hindquarters and she just yielded them away from me and ending up facing me head on.

6. Mare moved forward, immediately took of the pressure and stopped swinging the rope. Initially she only moved a step or two before stopping but just repeated the process. I went up to step 5 twice and from then, the mare either responded to the walk on command, or occasionally, if she returned to being stubborn, to the swinging rope.
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Ok, you said that you do as the quote above says, but she doesn't respond. My horse is this way sometimes as well. Are you using a whip at all? I don't mean whipping and abusing the horse, it's just that my mare always responds better when I use a whip (the longer one works better-it's stick is about six feet plus the actual rope whip part which makes it about 12 feet long); however, your mare may respond fine with a short riding crop (mine's about three feet long).
Just stand as you normally would to begin lunging (I don't know if you lunge differently than I do). Ask her to move out just as in the step wise plan in the quote. Continue to follow the steps while holding the whip by your side so as not to draw your horse's attention to it. Use the whip in place of the swinging rope throughout the steps that call for it. First swing it out away and behind her to drive her forward, then if that doesn't phase her allow the whip to fall on her hindquarters as you swing it (not hurting her of course, she may jump or flinch, but it's not hurting her). If she still doesn't respond then swing the whip faster (not harder, just faster so that it falls on her hindquarters more often - up the beat). If that still doesn't work try swinging the whip a little harder or swing the rope part of the whip low to the ground and allow it to contact the backs of her rear legs (this won't hurt her as long as you don't swing it hard).
As always rule out any physical problems or pain and give her the chance to respond without physical pressure first then up the pressure gradually until you get a response (even if it's just a small one) then instantly release/remove the pressure. Also don't leave time in between uping the pressure if she doesn't respond, keep going at it until you get the response you're looking for or until she at least tries to do what you've asked. And always be careful when trying new approaches and/or techniques, and listen to your horse's body language. I hope this makes sense. If you have any questions just ask and I will try to answer them for you. I'm no expert, just some things I've learned along the way with my own horses.
     

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