I took a job working with 6 horses about a month ago. This is my first time ever training a horse or working with them in a roundpen even though I've been riding for years. The owner of the 6 horses permanently injured himself so I'm just basically his hands and he directs me to do whatever needs to be done. Over the past 2 weeks, though, I've realized that he's just about as clueless training horses as I am. He refuses to hire a professional trainer because "why pay someone else to do something that I can learn to do just as well." Ugh.
Anyways, I'm focusing on 2 horses right now until I get the hang of things. Both are mustangs off the BLM although they're pretty tame now. One is an 8 year old mare and the other is a 5 year old gelding. I free lunge both of them around the roundpen. The gelding confuses me because I see his nose tipped towards me and I can catch his eye, but then when I try to bring him into the center, he just stops where he is. He has come in once or twice and squares up to me, but it's not consistent at all. The mare and the gelding both turn towards the outside when I ask for direction changes, even though the mare always squares up and comes into the center when I ask her. I don't like putting the gelding on a lunge line because he cuts his circles smaller and smaller around me. He really doesn't respond to pressure when I ask him to move to the outside and it makes me nervous when he throws a temper tantrum so close to me. I can literally smack his shoulder with the lunge whip over and over again and see the marks I leave, but he'll just do it again everytime he makes a circle around me. I hate being this rough with a horse and it's not working anyway, so there must be something I'm doing wrong.