Retraining proper lunging? Or better yet correcting bad lunging habits? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-09-2009, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Question Retraining proper lunging? Or better yet correcting bad lunging habits?

I have my 12 year old mare, And while she is not the youngest she is still very fiery. (Not a bad thing, I prefer NOT to have a dead broke horse. What's the fun in that?) The reason she was for sale when I found her was because when she was last lunged she charged viciously! Teeth bared and all.
I have no NEED to lunge her we work quite a bit in the arena and on trails alike with no problem. Since I have owned her I have not lunged her. It is unimportant to me, How ever I am interested in teaching her to do it properly just for the heck of it in some of our free time.

So my question is how can we start from scratch in training her to lunge on the line? Or better yet correct the bad habits she already knows?
Any type of advice is much appreciated!

Don't get me wrong she is not by any means a bad horse, And behavior wise [Other than this lunge business] is amazing so please don't misinterpret her for a dangerous animal.
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-09-2009, 04:18 AM
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when you say "charged viciously" I assume you mean at you? and not just forward.
well the first thing I'd think is to give her a tap on the shoulder with the whip if she starts coming at you, holding onto the tail of the whip so that you don't wind up actually whipping her with it and causing damage..but just a hard enough "bite" for her to notice and think about respecting your space.

if you haven't, you could also try doing some groundwork. I don't do much of that with my horses, but I do make sure I have the basics in place so that they can be utilized if they are being dangerous or disrespectful..and it does sound like that's what she's doing here. it also might help lay down a bit of a foundation for lunging.
I just make sure I can get them to back out of my space (by wiggling the leadrope/making a waving or shooing gesture towards their chest/etc) and move their front and hind ends seperately away from pressure. for the front end, I put pressure on the centre area of the shoulder (patting or poking it with my hand) until the horse moves away correctly, usually stepping across with the nearest leg. for the hind end, I step to the side I want the horse to move away from, stare intently (in a "I want you to move" sort of way) at the horse's hind end, and make a shooing motion with my hand, aiming towards the rear. usually when teaching this, I start with that motion, then start tapping on the horse's side with my hand, then use more of a poking or patting motion, all increasing slowly until the horse steps over in the correct way (usually with the near hind leg crossing over the far hind leg)
those are pretty much the only things I do. it seems to work pretty well for me and my boys. some will say that you have to do groundwork in a specifically designed (overpriced) rope halter with a long lead. I say not. it is a little bit harder to get the horse to learn the jiggling-the-rope backing method in a normal halter, but very much doable. other than that, I have no issues with it. I try to be practical about horsemanship and not do things that are, or buy equipment that is, unnecessary.

but anyway. maybe my explaination of groundwork ideas is enough, or maybe someone else will explain better. just thought I'd toss my thoughts out there.
good luck with your girl. she's very pretty =)

Last edited by rocky pony; 12-09-2009 at 04:22 AM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-09-2009, 09:55 AM
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I believe that the start of all of this is just getting the horse to follow the line and respond to very small request.
I work with them when they are young and allow them to pick up the ideas at their own pace.
The next big idea for them is to get the idea of winding them up and pulling them out.
Again the idea is to follow the line.
The actual drive is from the rear quarter and it is possible to get too far ahead or too far behind the horse,but when you have it right it just works and the horse is relaxed and not all shook up like he is being chased.

This all starts with a simple yield to the pull.

Being comfortable with the line.

And accepting small changes in direction.

It builds to this over time.

And then progresses to this.

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post #4 of 6 Old 12-09-2009, 12:29 PM
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Marecare gives excellent advice and that is a BRICK of a foal. If you lunge her and she charges you don't waste time swatting her chest. If you're going to strike her do it across her nose and do it like you mean it. It won't make your horse headshy but it will stop the charge in a hurry. You will still have to deal with the reason the horse charged in the first place. For that I would get the horse to back on a loose lead. When a horse wants to establish dominance it has to make the other horse move back. It works well for people too.

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post #5 of 6 Old 12-09-2009, 12:47 PM
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AWESOME reply MareCare. And I have to agree...that foal is going to be a solid horse! I don't have much experience lunging, especially with horses that have lunging issues...but I'm VERY curious to read all the replies!

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post #6 of 6 Old 12-09-2009, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by kevinshorses View Post
If you're going to strike her do it across her nose and do it like you mean it. It won't make your horse headshy but it will stop the charge in a hurry.
it absolutely could make a horse headshy. (not will, but could.) I had one horse that would be okay with being smacked in the face, but the two I have now you would have some very serious issues to work through. I have to work through problems with my guys even if I just accidentally elbow them in the face.
I don't know this horse, so I am certainly not going to suggest swatting her in the face.
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