Round Pen/Longing-To Turn (In) or Not To Turn (In) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 11-26-2013, 06:33 AM Thread Starter
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Round Pen/Longing-To Turn (In) or Not To Turn (In)

Over the summer I took on a full lease for a four year old Paint who has been through several different trainers since he started his training last year.

I am not a trainer, but due to circumstances, I have ended up mostly on my own to work with him. The person who was training him when I decided to lease him left for a new job in July and won't be back until May at the earliest. He's the one who showed me everything and worked with me and my horse.

One of the things he trained the horses he worked with to do was to turn in...turn towards him completely...when they finished working a side on the longe line or in the round pen. He told me that this showed that they were listening and you had their attention.

Another girl who works at the ranch was helping me to longe different horses and she said that turning in was a 'Western thing' and stopping in place was an 'English' thing.

Now, the owner of the ranch I ride at has told me that turning in is a sign of aggression and should never be done.

So, of course, I am a bit confused. The two younger people who told me turning in is ok have far more experience with riding and training that me or the owner...she has a tendency to listen to whoever is whispering in her ear at the moment...which is why I've gone through three trainers in six months.

If there are any trainers out there who have an opinion or explanation, I'd love to here from you.

The one thing I've learned on this journey is that there is very little black and white in training and a whole lot of grey.
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post #2 of 19 Old 11-26-2013, 07:53 AM
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While you may be finding a lot grey in horse training methods, you have to be black and white with the horses when training. Horses like black and white so there is no room for confusion. I was taught to have them turn in and give two eyes as a sign of respect, they are not allowed to turn in and come to me without permission. They turn in, stop and wait for me to ask them into my space. Two eyes are better then two feet, always. Why would you want a horse turning its butt to you ever? When I go to a horse I want two eyes at all times, and it starts by establishing that respect in the round pen, showing them I can move their feet and control their body with mine. Just as a herd leader in the pasture would do.

I know some trainers teach them to turn away in the round pen, but what happens when you put them on a line, and they have been taught to turn away from you; that does not work well to have them turn away from you unless you are very handy with the line.

Everyone has their way of training, and things that work for them. What you need to do is listen, watch and take in as much as you can and find what works for you. But once you decide how your going to do something be consistent with it, and black and white so your horse will not be confused.
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post #3 of 19 Old 11-26-2013, 07:58 AM
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Since you are approx. in the middle of the pen, step back a few steps. Horses are inclined to follow what is moving away. You will need to experiment with how many steps will draw the horse. When it is facing you that is when you ask for the other direction. Extend your direction arm a little above your shoulder to point the way. Bring your driving hand with the whip to encourage movement. Try to send him off quietly at the walk. After he's gone half a dozen strides, back away again to draw him. Both of you may struggle with this at first but usually after three or four attempts you find out what works. Why keep him at a walk? So he'll think instead of going into flight mode and then he's on auto pilot.
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post #4 of 19 Old 11-26-2013, 08:37 AM
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I've seen some trainers do both when asking for a direction change. The horse turns out or in depending on the cue. I will do this too sometimes, but only after the horse is consistently turning in and behaving respectfully.
My sister disagrees with me a on this. She feels that a horse should never turn their butt to you. I can see her point on this since you want to teach the horse to watch and listen to you.
I like to change things up though, so I know the horse is listening and responding to me not just working out of habit.

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post #5 of 19 Old 11-26-2013, 11:17 AM
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I like the horse to just stop on their circle line and allow me to approach. This way is much safer as I am always in control of the line, and the horse is facing perpendicular to me should he spook or bolt.
It also allows an easier adjustment of the side reins. Often times when I stop the horse, it is not to change directions.

IMO it is very important to have a qualified instructor teach you how to lunge a horse. Always remain safe and in control or all your equipment, and the horse. Nothing should touch the ground or need go be picked up from a bent over position.
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post #6 of 19 Old 11-26-2013, 11:29 AM
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I've always been taught to have the horse turn in. I don't want to have their butt to me, EVER. Especially with lunging. Most horses get excited and like to get frisky and kick. That's just how I've always done it. Especially with the mare I'm working with now. She always looks out of the pen, ignoring me. If we spend time getting her to face me she's much better about paying attention to me.
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post #7 of 19 Old 11-26-2013, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by LovesMyDunnBoy View Post
I've always been taught to have the horse turn in. I don't want to have their butt to me, EVER.
Me too.

The hind end can KICK and I do not want it pointing in my direction.

When I ask my horses for a direction change, I want them to turn inward, and then go the other way. For myself, I don't let my horses come to the middle of the circle because when I say WHOA, that means the feet stop. It does not mean that you come to me in the center. So when I WHOA the horse, I will walk to them, back them up, and then praise.

Everyone will do things a little different, but make sure YOU do the same thing with your horses consistently to help with confusion.

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post #8 of 19 Old 11-26-2013, 12:14 PM
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Lunging is part of the training where a horse learns verbal cues that then get 'translated' into the cues we give from the saddle
I train my horses to understand 'whoa' and 'Stand' and then to turn (to change direction) or walk on to command. If they were to turn and start walking in to me without being asked they wouldn't be listening and obeying but doing their own thing
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post #9 of 19 Old 11-26-2013, 12:33 PM
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the will usually turn directions with their butt toward you if they are fleeing you. It can be just a matter of habit, and not necessarily them flipping you the finger. its not so much which direction, but how they turn.

If they change directions facing you, it ususally is becuase you've got a better "draw" on them, so they are going around with at least one ear and eye on you all along, waiting for the next instruction, not just running away from you.

It doesn't matter to me if the horse , when stopping out on the circle, turns his head or even forequarters inward or stays put, as long as he does not COME IN uninvited.
if the handler asked for a stop, the horse should stop, and if the handler kind of freezes, so should the horse. If the handler backs up, the horse should draw to that. the horse looking inward is a kind of "what now?" question. Give it clear instructions right then. if you want it to stop and stand, stop your own body, and maybe , if necessary, put a little flip on the line to stop him. If you don't give him direction when he stops, he may decide himself to come in toward you, and you don't want him making that decision himself. you might want him to ask (turn and look at you, both eyes) but you answer with a direction , help him out.

ETA I just realized that I was thinking of Round Pen lunging when making the above comments. on a lungeline, you would never want him to turn AWAY from you.
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post #10 of 19 Old 11-26-2013, 12:43 PM
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If the horse is a bit hyper I will allow outside turns but as it tires and begins to settle down I will then try to draw it for inside turns. With an inside turn the horse is allowed to rest for a few seconds then is asked to finish the turn and move on, always with low energy on my part to keep him thinking and not reacting.
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longing , round pen , stopping , training , turning in

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