Is it pain or disrespect?
 
 

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Is it pain or disrespect?

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  • What is hurting my horse in the back end that is stopping from wanting to canter
  • Horse back pain when stopping

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  • 2 Post By BlueSpark

 
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    07-22-2013, 12:06 PM
  #1
Foal
Is it pain or disrespect?

I was lunging my horse yesterday and he kept stopping and turning in when I asked him to canter, mostly when he was going right. This direction is always his bad side - he is better going to the left. He would paw the ground and he did that flehmin lip curl thing a couple times. To correct this, I made him back up. A lot. And then I asked him to go right again at a trot. After a circle I'd ask to canter. If he stopped, I repeated the process. Eventually he would canter, but only after he kicked up his heels in a little buck.

I'm thinking about having a chiropractor come out or a massage therapist, but I wanted to hear what you guys think before. I know that him doing this when I ask him to canter can be signs of pain, but it could also be him being lazy and not wanting to work.
     
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    07-22-2013, 12:21 PM
  #2
Started
That definitely sounds like a pain thing to me, especially if he's not usually like that. I never canter a horse on a lunge line, it can be stressful on their joints to be on a curve the whole time.
But if he's in pain for some reason I'm glad you caught it. Was he wearing any tack? If not then it's definitely worth having a vet or chiro come take a look.
     
    07-22-2013, 12:30 PM
  #3
Green Broke
First, how big of a circle? If its too small of a circle you could be making doing the right thing very uncomfortable. I'm not a huge fan of lunging, all my horses lunge, but I only ever use it to evaluate lameness or with a green horse(attitude, focus, obedience level, introducing new things, etc) Unless you have an exceptional handful of a horse that is prone to misbehaviour, I really don't see the point. Anyways, back to the original question;

If your circle is big enough, and the horse is sound, I would guess the issue is attitude. When the horse starts thinking of stopping, push him forward aggressively, don't let him slow down. My guess is that its hard for him to canter in a small circle, on his weak side, so he's effectively telling you to "take a hike", instead of putting in the effort to do what is asked. You are letting him get away with it. Instead of making him do the task you asked for, you instead ask for easier tasks(backing, trotting)

I suggest evaluating why you are lunging him. If it is necessary, conceder a longer lunge line, but regardless, when you ask for a task, make it reasonable(on his weak side, try only cantering one circle, or focus on trotting for now to strengthen) and follow through. If you ask for a canter, don't let him stop, keep him in a canter, then ask him to slow down, don't let him run the show.
tinyliny and Foxhunter like this.
     
    07-22-2013, 12:37 PM
  #4
Started
That sounds more like a pain issue.
If it was disrespect I don't think he would be stopping and pawing or anything.
     
    07-22-2013, 01:20 PM
  #5
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by katec1991    
I was lunging my horse yesterday and he kept stopping and turning in when I asked him to canter, mostly when he was going right. This direction is always his bad side - he is better going to the left. He would paw the ground and he did that flehmin lip curl thing a couple times. To correct this, I made him back up. A lot. And then I asked him to go right again at a trot. After a circle I'd ask to canter. If he stopped, I repeated the process. Eventually he would canter, but only after he kicked up his heels in a little buck.

I'm thinking about having a chiropractor come out or a massage therapist, but I wanted to hear what you guys think before. I know that him doing this when I ask him to canter can be signs of pain, but it could also be him being lazy and not wanting to work.

I would only MAKE the horse back up if the horse had already chosen backing as a form of evasion. So, if the horse is backing up on its' own to avoid going forward, and you keep telling it forward, and it knows what you want but insists on going backward, THEN I might make backing up a whole lot more vigorous. Then I'd say, "well, if you want to back, then let's REALLY back up!".
But, if he stops and is just facing me, hoping to avoid work this way, I would not then choose back up. Remember what thing you are asking the horse to do. This is "Go Forward!" Keep asking. If he chooses other things, as much as possible ignore those choices and keep asking YOUR choice. Eventually, the horse will choose the right thing, and then you stop asking and let the horse "coast" forward and ease down to a stop. Yes, you want him to canter around you, but for the first few times, just getting him to go the direction you want is your objective.

So, you ask for forward AND trot, you take pressure off and allow him to "coast" forward, and he'll come down to a walk . Fine. Then ask for forward and into a canter, and when he takes the canter, allow him to go forward without chasing him. He'll come back down again. Next time, ask for forward, and MORE canter, and then ease off pressure just a bit when he canters, but see if you can get more canter out of him. Basically, you are working on transitions more than him holding the canter, because he is not wanting to take the canter in the first place.

As you work forward you ask him to stay in the canter a bit longer each time and observe him to see if he has obvious "offness".

And yes, if you are in doubt, it doesn't hurt to have him evaluated by a chiropractor of body worker.
     
    07-22-2013, 02:02 PM
  #6
Super Moderator
I totally agree with BlueSpark, sounds like it is an evasion.
     
    07-22-2013, 02:25 PM
  #7
Foal
Thank you for your responses!

First off - he had no tack on. So it isn't a saddle fitting issue.

Second - The reason I was lunging him is because he is green, he had been kept in his stall for the day, and my own back is too sore to ride. It was a large circle. He is a small horse so doesn't need a whole lot of room but I will try to find a longer lunge line to see if that makes a difference.

Third - the reason I chose to back him up is because when he stopped to turn in and I tried to send him he chose to back up instead. So I made him back up more. I chose to let him trot instead of canter to make the lunging more comfortable than stopping.
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    07-22-2013, 02:28 PM
  #8
Foal
Maybe I will try free lunging him tonight if the arena is empty. He isn't obviously lame and didn't look off when I got him to canter on the line. We did make progress with what I was doing - he would pick up the canter easier after a few tries. So maybe it is attitude.
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