a whack of lunging questions...
 
 

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a whack of lunging questions...

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  • Sniffing the ground when lunging
  • Horses ground sniffing while lunging

 
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    03-15-2009, 12:13 AM
  #1
Started
a whack of lunging questions...

Is anyone familiar with the signs of respect or disrespect in a horse while lunging? I'm really trying to understand where my mare is coming from... both undersaddle and with groundwork. I have a few questions ...

- When she has her head down -- is that a sign of respect/disrespect or is she stretching her back?

- Head held way high up/ &/or tossing of the head -- I take this to be a sign of disrespect.

- Should you give verbal cue first or shake the whip to ask for upward transition?

- Where should your eyes be when lunging? I was always told, if you want the horse to move forward look at their butt, and if you want them too slow down, look at their front -- and always have your body at their barrel.

- What works best for a halt? Sometimes I step in towards her and jiggle the line, asking her to whoa.

- How do you know when your horse is really working through their back end on the lunge line and when she's heavy on the forehand? How do you get her to track up and work the hind end on the lunge line?

Thanks guys!!
     
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    03-15-2009, 12:51 AM
  #2
Weanling
When she has her head down, she's relaxed and comfortable and being submissive. She could also be stretching her back as well, if she has found that it feels good. :)

The head high and being tossed about could just mean she's feeling good and her energy level is up. I wouldn't say it's disrespectful, but in those times you can just quietly reel her in on a smaller circle to re-focus her attention back on you.

If your mare is light and sensitive, a verbal cue might be enough. For the more lazy/ignorant/uneducated/stubborn type horse, you can use another means to get the response you're looking for. It's a series of progression, really. Kind of like the "goldilocks theory". Start with a little, then add if necessary. I cluck/kiss, then if nothing I'll raise the whip, and if I have to I'll tap the haunches or the hind leg to ask for an upward transition. Or flick the tail of the whip on the ground at their hind end. What you want is to teach your horse to listen to verbal commands, or something subtle. Teach your horse that when you whisper to her, she hears you. If she doesn't respond to something small, you have to do something bigger. The next time she will remember the repercussion of not listening to the subtle cue, and will choose to respond off very little.

You can be in various positions while lunging, depending on your level of education. If your horse tends to lean in with his shoulder, to aim for the shoulder and up towards his throat. If he says perfectly in balance, you can remain a bit more at his barrel. If he tends to get crooked and wants to bulge his hind end to the inside, you can position yourself a little towards the back so that you can push his hind quarters out and drive him forwards. Alot of people say that eye communication is important, I however don't think so. They say wild horses will stare another in the eye if trying to gain respect, or if they are trying to drive that horse away. In lunging, it's more about your body communication and the energy you reflect. If you have alot of bounce in your step, or alot of energy in your cues, your horse will respond quicker and with more life. If you are slow, non chalant, calm, you're horse can mirror that energy as well.

If you want your horse to move forward, walk at him in a manner that you want to drive him out and forward. Continue walking with him in a smaller circle, and when you want him to slow down or either stop, you stop walking, or you take a step backwards. That relieves the pressure of you driving him out, and he will relax and slow down. Always send from the back to the front.

To ask for a halt, stand quietly in the center, calm and peaceful. Hum to him to whoa, if he doesn't respond you can reel him in closer, or just gently pull the lunge line until he responds. Alot of horses will stop and face you. Some people don't like that, others it doesn't matter. You can teach your horse to halt straight by every time he comes to turn into you, you just push him back out and give him a place of peace when he's facing forwards again. It's not a bad thing, really. It's just that he's checking in with you, wondering if he has done a good job. :)

You can watch her footfall to tell if they're tracking up. Does the hind end hoof print fall in the front foot's print? Or does it fall short, or does it exceed the front? If the hind print doesn't reach the front, he's not tracking up. Bring him in on a smaller circle to where you can touch his hind leg with the end of your whip. Touch his inside hind leg just as it's about to leave the ground. This will encourage him to reach further with his leg. You can repeat however much you want, but make sure to give him a place of peace when you see an effort on his part to reach farther. You can do this also to ask for trot. Tap the hind leg a little harder(if your horse tolerates it) until he responds and pick up trot. This will encourage him to push himself into trot from his hind end. Alot of horses do not have awareness of their whole body. Tapping their hind legs brings awareness, which improves better movement and a calmer, happier horse.

I do alot of long lining, which is a bit different from lunging.
That is pretty advanced, but I just wanted to show you what you can do. You have the inside rein, and the outside rein. So basically you're riding them from the ground. You are able to be way more effective and can fix and cause things easier. :)

Hope this helped you, there's def. Alot to it!!!
     
    03-15-2009, 12:52 AM
  #3
Weanling
When her head is down that's a good sign it means she does respect you and has trust in you.

When she's tossing her head it could simply be from excitement and after work with her for a while she shouldn't do it anymore. It is somewhat a sign of disrespect.

I try to give the verbal cue first, and I don't use the whip till the third time I have to ask. That gives them time to react and the whip is only used as encouragement after they have failed to pick up the pase.

You should be looking at their butt or hip when you want them to move. When you're looking for slowing them down I usually say easy, and when I want them to stop I say woe and if I have to I step infront of them. To push them out of the circle you look at her head and step towards her. To bring her into the middle you ask her to come in; usually using a different cue; and step back. Horse's lives are built on body language so use it carefully.

Stepping towards her to make her hault would mean turn away from me to a horse, and she could then end up going in the other direction. You want to block her movement, and that would mean stepping ahead of her. My coach/trainer taught my horse how to do a slidding stop with the thing you use to rope cattle (work slipped my mind) by putting it around her back foot, when she said woe she pulled it tight. My horse would stop and my coach wouldn't release pressure untill she nicely gave in to the pressure.

Also take into consideration of where you're hands are. You should be creating a triagle, when I want my horse working I always have my hand up that has the whip in it.
If you have a lunge line attached to the halter of the horse you want to keep it up and pointed in a direct line to the horse.
When I want the horse to come towards me I will sometimes drop it or put it behind me.

A way to get her to work on the hind end (assuming ur using western gear, this would probably do with either) I would first practice with the bridle and teaching them how to give to each side, and then how to give to the bit when their standing still. This can all be done on the ground. Then I tie each rein to the sturrip with little give (my horse respond really well to this that's why I use no give) and send them forward.

Some ways to practice with them giving to the sides are taking your lung line and going around them, making sure its not pulling but not too low on the body. Once you are around to the other side the lungline should be around their butt, with some pressure you're horse should turn around. Practice this on each side multiple times.

Practicing making them break at the poll when back is good too. Let me know how it goes! Hope its all understandable.
     
    03-15-2009, 07:55 AM
  #4
Trained
Hi Jubilee,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubilee Rose    
- When she has her head down -- is that a sign of respect/disrespect or is she stretching her back?
Yes, perhaps. Could be submission/giving in, could be respect, could be stretching her back, sniffing the ground... it depends. Depends also if you *DESERVE* and *EARN* her respect as to whether she'll show you any. (actually, the whole respect/disrespect lable/idea irritates me... don't think it's helpful... least not to the horse...)

Quote:
- Head held way high up/ &/or tossing of the head -- I take this to be a sign of disrespect.
Yes, I'd take it that she doesn't respect you. Head held high is often a sign of fear, so she may be confused & worried about what you're asking. Nose pointing to the outside generally means she doesn't want to be with you, needs to escape... Tossing her head may be because she's telling you where to go because she doesn't want to do as you ask, could be in frustration at you not 'getting it'...

Quote:
- Should you give verbal cue first or shake the whip to ask for upward transition?
Following the 'behavioural' line of thinking... You want to associate the signal - noise, gesture, whatever) with the behaviour that you want it to come to mean. Therefore, get the behaviour first, and attach 'cues' when they're doing it, not before or after. Only once they've obviously associated the two do you begin 'testing' the cue by giving it before the behaviour you want it to instigate. Depending on how you use/teach it, waving a whip could be a primary(basic) motivator to get the horse going or the actual cue, after the effect.

Quote:
- Where should your eyes be when lunging? I was always told, if you want the horse to move forward look at their butt, and if you want them too slow down, look at their front -- and always have your body at their barrel.
I believe the principles of what you do are important, whereas the cues and specifics can/should be adapted to the personal situation of particular horse & human. The above is an example of the latter I think. I don't think this 'method' is at all 'wrong', just different to mine. I teach a horse to yield to pressure, including bodylanguage pressure, so to look *with focus* at their butt should tell them to move it away - disengage it & face me. My cue for forward/faster is to 'lead' the horse forward, with bodylanguage &/or rope pressure, then back it up by putting energy(waving whip, etc) out behind the horse, getting closer until actually touching if/when necessary to back up the request. If I want them to slow, I put the energy out infront of them. I stand still & relaxed when the horse is doing what I asked, only facing it when I want to signal something.

Quote:
- What works best for a halt? Sometimes I step in towards her and jiggle the line, asking her to whoa.
Again, I believe a matter of personal preference as to what your cues are. I think it depends whether you're interested in competition in sports where it might matter, such as dressage, and what appears logical to you, what you want to teach the horse... Whatever you do, make sure you're clear & consistent in whatever you want to teach. If I want the horse to turn & face me, I look at his rump, to ask it to move away. I will step or lean back to ask the horse to come in to me. Wiggling my finger or the line means backup, so if I'm 'lunging' it means slow/stop/backup, depending what we're up to & how I ask.

...If you say 'shake' to my dogs, they'll shake their whole bodies on cue, which I taught them so as not to get wet after their swims....

Quote:
- How do you know when your horse is really working through their back end on the lunge line and when she's heavy on the forehand? How do you get her to track up and work the hind end on the lunge line?
'Heavy on the forehand' often means leaning or pushing on you - resisting. If the horse is doing as you ask with light/no pressure - eg. Loose line - then it's not 'heavy'. You'll know when the horse is 'light'. Aiming for working the hind end(in a well balanced way) is often about exercising the horse's body on the lunge(as in for long periods, for exercise sake), which is a concept that I don't personally agree with *in general*(never say never). But if you're exercising the horse's mind & training, you will be naturally asking for lots of transitions, which gets them working in a balanced way, using their hind end....
     
    03-15-2009, 07:49 PM
  #5
Super Moderator
I'm no expert at lunging but my trainer did teach me a really cool way to get Lacey to stop when I'm lunging her since she doesn't really want to stop when I ask her to. To begin with I took her in a round pen and asked her to trot, staring at her shoulder for about 2 circles, then I turned so my shoulder and her shoulder are in line and then you just keep your shoulder in line, from the center of the round pen, for about a circle then you turn and walk away from the horse keeping your eye on the horse. If the horse turns away from you you run at them and push them really hard for a circle or two, then you repeat the same thing. If the horse turns in towards you you stop moving and let the horse come up to you and pet it. Then have the horse turn, with it's head towards you and repeat the same thing. If the horse ever turns it's rear to you you run at it and really drive it on but if it's head turns towards you you stop driving and you reward. Lacey had never had that done to her so she was understandably a little freaked out but she caught on quickly and now I can do the same thing on the lunge line (just turning my back to her instead of walking away) and she'll come right up to me and stop. Since the horse can't turn away on the lunge line it makes it a bit harder to get them to stop so I've been gradually working on getting her to stop from a trot. I began from a walk and now she's really good at that. After she gets good at the trot I'll start working on the canter. This exercise is also good for getting the horse to pay attention to you because it doesn't know when you're going to ask it to stop. Good luck! And sorry for how this is such a huge paragraph...
     
    03-15-2009, 11:22 PM
  #6
Started
Wow, what amazing responses!! Thanks everyone, I will definitely have to try these suggestions.
     
    03-16-2009, 03:37 PM
  #7
mls
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubilee Rose    
- When she has her head down -- is that a sign of respect/disrespect or is she stretching her back?
She is stretching if done for a couple of strides. More than that and she is dumping on her front her and needs to be put back into frame.

Quote:
- Head held way high up/ &/or tossing of the head -- I take this to be a sign of disrespect.
Could be attempting to avoid contact. What head gear are you using?

Quote:
Should you give verbal cue first or shake the whip to ask for upward transition?
I ask verbally and then reach out with the whip lash and tap them (hence the LOOOONG lung whip and lash)

Quote:
- Where should your eyes be when lunging? I was always told, if you want the horse to move forward look at their butt, and if you want them too slow down, look at their front -- and always have your body at their barrel.
I watch the cadence to see if they are moving correctly. Never eye contact though as that invites them to you.

Quote:
- What works best for a halt? Sometimes I step in towards her and jiggle the line, asking her to whoa.
Ask, tell, make. Say the word, then pressure on the line and then stop them. One thing to add here - do not encourage the horse to come to you. It's ok if they whoa and face but with all of that line, if they spook - unfortunate. My dressage instructor was run over by her own horse when it spooked. Busted a few ribs.

Quote:
- How do you know when your horse is really working through their back end on the lunge line and when she's heavy on the forehand? How do you get her to track up and work the hind end on the lunge line?
Sound for one. A horse traveling heavy in the front SOUNDS heavy. After a few sessions I will add ground poles and then cavelitti if the horse needs to work on building top line, abs and hind quarters.
     
    03-16-2009, 08:47 PM
  #8
Weanling
I just have a quick question...when your horse is lunging and sniffing the ground...is that something I should allow or should I correct it so she's paying attention to me?
     
    03-17-2009, 12:52 AM
  #9
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovemydun    
I just have a quick question...when your horse is lunging and sniffing the ground...is that something I should allow or should I correct it so she's paying attention to me?
Good question... I've wondered that myself.

Anyone...?
     
    03-17-2009, 01:18 AM
  #10
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovemydun    
I just have a quick question...when your horse is lunging and sniffing the ground...is that something I should allow or should I correct it so she's paying attention to me?
Who's to say she's not paying attention to you at the same time?? She's not a man, after all .
     

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