Dumb question about lungeing - The Horse Forum
  • 3 Post By verona1016
  • 3 Post By DancingArabian
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-24-2013, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Tennessee
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Dumb question about lungeing

Ok....everyone keeps telling me I need to do 'ground work' with my horse. First off, I'm not sure exactly what that means. I know how to lunge line her in theory however every time we start she makes a half circle and then crosses the middle and walks up to me. She did beautiful circles for the trainer (who is currently out of town) and he used a whip cracking behind her to keep her moving but when I crack the whip - which has never touched her, she startles. I've only had her for 2 weeks and the whip has never even come close to making contact. ...I can't say if her previous owners did or not... but she didn't react at all when the trainer used it.

Any ideas or suggestions?

Last edited by BTHobbyfarm; 07-24-2013 at 01:19 PM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-24-2013, 01:42 PM
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Groundwork is more than just lungeing. Lungeing is great for getting a horse warmed up, introducing new tack, etc. but usually when I say someone needs to do more groundwork, I'm thinking of exercises that build respect. Anything from teaching a horse to lead (staying with you on a loose rope, stopping when you stop, going faster when you speed up, etc.) to trick training will, when done right, teach the horse to respect you.

Your horse coming in when you try to lunge isn't a problem of not knowing how to lunge- as you said, she lunges just fine with your trainer. It's a problem of your horse not respecting your leadership, not believing that you will follow through with your command, or your timing/technique is off, etc. It's not something that most people are good at right away and takes a lot of practice. Unless your technique is way off, doing other groundwork exercises that build trust/respect will make your lungeing better, too.

Ask your trainer for help, and if necessary, record your sessions alone with your horse to show her. I know that personally, my horse acts WAY better when a trainer is around, even if she's just watching. Last time I had a lesson with a NH trainer I said my horse is always lazy on the lunge line and he made a total liar out of me
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-24-2013, 01:43 PM
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Groundwork means things like good manners, tying, yielding haunches, yielding fore, backing, sending, etc. Basically using pressure (physical and mental) to cause the horse to yield his space to you by moving his body. It effectively means you're controlling his feet. The horse thus learns that you're in charge and you become the leader.

Either your horse doesn't see you as leader or it doesn't know what you're asking (either the training is incomplete or you're not asking in a way the horse understands - don't feel bad it happens!).

I recommend Clinton Anderson. He doesn't do anything magical but he presents things in context, explaining the process and the theories. He's easy to understand and effective. If you google his name you will find his site. You can also watch him on RFDTV if you have that channel or stream it from their site.
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-24-2013, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. ..I think you're right. Like I said, I've only had her 2 weeks and she tends to walk up on me no matter what we are doing. I take her for a long walk on the lead rope daily but she generally tries to walk ahead. I thought lunging was the solution but it seems I need to stop that behavior before I worry about the rest. The trainer warned me about babying her but I was worried about her being afraid of me because her previous owners were what I would consider rough... ie kicking her to get her to move. Looks like I need to find a way to put my foot down firmly yet calmly.
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-24-2013, 05:06 PM
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Horses communicate with body language. What are you saying with your body language? To circle to the right, point with your right hand with the lead rope and smack the ground with the whip. Lean slightly forward and make yourself big (like you just took a deep breath), you need to stay behind her drive line( about where the girth is). If you get in front of that you will shut her down. Don't let her cut the circle. You should also be walking a smaller circle. If you slow down she should slow down. If you lean slightly forward and speed up, she should follow suit.
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-24-2013, 05:40 PM
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If you've never done it, look up what you would do in a showmanship class, take her in a ring, and run through it. Those are the basic ground work items that we start foals on.
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