Will NOT canter on the lunge line - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-23-2008, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Will NOT canter on the lunge line

For over 4 years now I have faught with this and I am finally going to do something about it one way or another. Poco is 9 going on 10 years old and does not want to canter on the lunge line. He listens great to voice commands and is more than willing to keep a steady trot but he will not canter. It doesnt matter whether you have a whip with a flap/baggy on the end, whatever. Hes been desensitized and nothing like that means anything to him. He was trained to ignore that stuff, to be bombproof. How can I get him to canter? I can give a short circle, long circle, whatever and he doesnt want to do it.

Shorty * N * Opie
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-23-2008, 03:16 PM
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how does he do undersaddle when you ask for a canter? Will he canter then?
First make sure that you are giving him a big enough circle...the smaller the circle the harder for the horse.
If the lundge whip isn't working, try using something else. He can't be desensitized to everything...try an actual flag (one on a pole), try trying a milk jug to the end of the lundge line, use your imagination.
Sounds more or less that he is testing you because he really don't want to canter. You MUST keep on doing it until he does...if you give up, he's winning.
A horse I used to ride, no matter what we used he didn't want to canter...we ended up putting 5 large plastic bags on the end of the lundge whip, and if he wouldn't go we would give him a tap with it on his hind.

The worst thing you can do is just give up and let him trot all he wants...you are giving in to HIM. You want him to give into YOU. You must be the dominate one, you must be the leader were as he must be the follower.
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-23-2008, 03:21 PM
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What kind of lunge whip are you using? If you're using the kind with the really long cracker on the end (is that what it's called???) then just smack his butt with it until he canters. If he ignores you hit him harder. Just remember there's a fine line between encouragement and abuse. Just judge how hard to smack by how sensitive your horse is.
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post #4 of 9 Old 02-23-2008, 03:30 PM
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If you have a round pen available, you could try this. As he's jogging, ask for the canter and if he doesn't give it to you, increase the pressure on his rear end by taking a few steps nearer and asking again, more forcefully with your whip. Just keep moving towards his hind end as he trots around the pen untill you are so close that you could use your wip with contact.

Think of squeezing a water balloon until it pops. You're basically increasing the pressure, between yourself and the wall of the round pen, untill he has no choice but to move forward faster in order to relieve the pressure. Make sure to remain behind his shoulder otherwise he might just stop and go the other way.

If it works for you, you can use this enough so that he will begin to lope on a lunge line when asked.
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-23-2008, 04:28 PM
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I have a similar problem, only this mare freaks out when I ask for anything more than a trot, and she'll square up to me and pull. Any ideas?

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post #6 of 9 Old 02-23-2008, 04:29 PM
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I also have a very similar problem. I don't want to hijack the thread. lol. I will post another.

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post #7 of 9 Old 02-23-2008, 04:54 PM
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The question you should ask yourself is 'why does your horse not want to canter'. Is he hurting somewhere? You should keep in mind that lunging does not seem like a hard exercise, but it truly is. Maybe you should get an osteopath to check your horse out. Pushing him will probably have a negative effect.
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-23-2008, 06:07 PM
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^^^ i was just going to say the same thing. there is always something that causes this behaviour JDI and its usually either fear or pain. rule those two out and you have one naughty horsey ;)

to the OP, make sure you keep him at a steady trot when you are asking him to canter/lope. they find it hard to break into a canter when they are trotting faster. thats why sometimes certain 'chasing' type methods dont work as its simply too hard for the horse especially if the horse lacks muscle and fitness.

this is what i did when i had trouble getting my wb to canter on the lunge. i used to round yard and took everything off of him so he was 'tack naked' :) starting free lunging him but i had a lunge whip in my hand. if id ask him to canter and he wouldnt id crack the whip (not on him) and if he didnt respond i would hold the whip out in front of him which mad him stop. when this happens he spins around and goes the other way. so i would ask the same thing on that lead and do the same thing if he wouldnt canter. eventually he learnt to canter otherwise i was going to make him work hard.

"I whisper but my horse doesnt listen...So I yell!!...He still doesnt listen"

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post #9 of 9 Old 02-24-2008, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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I actually spent a few hours working with him today and he cantered both on the line and in the arena off the lunge line. Hes not in pain and its nothing medical. I think its more or less got to do with the fact that he doesnt have good balance in a smaller circle and doesnt really know that he can canter. Hes fine undersaddle. Hes been trained for barrels so he knows what is. Hes literally not scared of milk jugs, flags, whatever. We've taken everything and desensitzed him to it. I wanted him bombproof and thats what Ive go. I used the parelli 'carrot stick' with him today and he did well. It was ALOT of work to get him to canter and hold his canter. If he broke the canter I made him go back into it and then I would ask for a trot. He acted like he enjoyed it and carried his head high with every beat. I am please with the outcome and I hope tomorrow will bring the same.

Shorty * N * Opie
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