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CowgirlK 02-07-2012 02:01 PM

Help with teaching my horse to lunge!
Howdy everybody!
I'm learning alot with my Mare who is 6. I don't think she has had much done with her for I believe she was just a pasture horse and a once in awhile ride for some kids. Now that I have her I want to establish a trusting bond with her, work with her. I have lunged a horse once or twice but it's been a LONG time. I know that you are to stand more towards that hindquarters to make them move. I don't think my Mare has ever been lunge, he stops and then when I tell her to move she gets antsy and starts to buck. (Later I did learn from my cousin that you need to lunge at her, and she will move forward.) Any tips to keep her going? Thank you for any tips you may have!:-)

Corporal 02-07-2012 02:14 PM

First, this will take much longer than you think, but it is well worth it.
IF you have RFDtv start watching Clinton ANderson's programs. He uses lunging quite a bit and, like others, he is a firm believer in ground training before backing ANY horse, at any training level.
ANYWAY, start with tying up to groom--not crosstied. Teach your horse English terms for anything you want to teach them on the ground. Carry a short whip and ask "OVER" to get him to turn on the forehand and move his hindquarters away from you. Do this EVERY time you groom him so that moving your arms and/or saying over gets an immediate partial turn on the forehard. (He'll be MUCH easier to groom, too, bc he won't crowd you.)
Next you need a fenced in area, even if the only one available is your horse's stall. Experiment, but get you horse to go forward around you, at first in a small circle. Even if he stops, a few steps around in a circle deserves praise. You BUILD on this.
First, a partial circle, then a full circle, then same in both directions. A good month of small circles and you can start expanding the size. You are looking for impulsion, which is you asking the horse to move his feet on command and your horse doing what you asked until you ask him to do something else. THIS is the primary definition of all horse training.
Unlike any descriptions that I read about lunge training you do NOT point your whip towards the hindquarters to get your horse to circle around you. INSTEAD, point your whip towards the "drive line", which is where you leg rests while mounted and where you squeeze forward from a walk, etc.
BTW, I couldn't get my finished horses--now all passed on--to lunge for love or any$. They were babysitters so I didn't really need to teach them, just wanted to learn myself. It's a skill that needs to be taught like anything else you need or want to teach your horse to do.

CowgirlK 02-07-2012 02:24 PM

I plan on getting Clinton Anderson's program SOON. I believe it will teach me alot and create a special bond with my horse :-) Thanks for the tips! Thats a great idea to work on circles with her in the stall! I will be sure to try it this weekend.

xxBarry Godden 02-07-2012 02:47 PM

Ist - what do you plan to use around the horse's head - do you have a cavesson , or a training halter, or a bridle?
1st /b - do you think your horse is calm enough to use a bridle - with a very mild bit?
2nd - are your going to use a surcingle??
3rd are you going to use side reins , or pessoa fittings or nothing?
4th is the flat, level, soft sandy training arena big enough?
5th have you access to a lungeing whip?

Since you have never done this before, and there are some questions as to how to fit the horse and try it - then I do suggest you go watch somebody else lungeing before you buy the equipment. Lungeing is one of those activities which can help with training the horse - young, middling or old, but the handler must have some idea of what they are trying to achieve.

When lungeing my mare I have several objectives:
1/ to exercise her without taking her out in the lane
2/ to teach her to respond to commands given through a lead line attached to a mild bit,
3/ to teach her to jump (as if she didn't know)
4/ to teach her to negotiate objects which might frighten her - barrels, poles, buckets, plastic sheeting - you name it, anything you can think of that she won't find in a grazing pasture and she will freak at.
5/ to teach her to follow me at the walk with minimal pressure on the lead rope by her responding to my body posture and position.
6/ to teach her to respond to a light contact on the bit in her mouth
7/ to develop her muscles so as to encourage her to adopt a rounded outline, with the muzzle pointed downwards and her hind legs coming up under her body.
8/ generally to give her confidence that she can face hazards without a rider on her back.

Now, my horse will do a lot of things with a rider on her back, but getting her to do the same things without a rider sometimes proves to be surprisingly difficult and I am never quite sure why - but I do allow for her being a mare.

Every now and again she will flip and I am left holding at the end of a twenty foot lead line, a 550 kilo horse galloping around the arena like a whirling dervish. The faster she goes, the more dizzy I feel. I shall be OK as long as I don't let go of the lead line and neither do I get tangled up in it.

So, - before you ask what to do - what is your objective and do you have the right equipment and facilities?

Today my mare spent half an hour going round and round in circles at walk trot and canter. She then decided that she didn't want to walk over poles laid flat on the ground - so we yet again showed her how to do it.
Then we did some walking , here, there, everywhere, with her at my shoulder
without my saying a word or putting pressure on the lead rope.

Finally we dropped the lead rope on the ground and with her standing loose
I picked the sand out of her hooves and undid all the straps.
Then I took her in and wrapped her up again - the temperature was barely above freezing.

There is a knack in lungeing - if you can get the 'feel' of doing it then it is a useful training exercise. I am a fan of lungeing but the handler has to know what he/she is doing and why.

Oh I forgot, during the middle of our session today, the guy next door started up his chainsaw and the horses from the local hunt kennels went past on exercise. She freaked out on both occasions.
If you try it, make sure you wear gloves and a pair of sturdy boots with reinforced toe caps.

Corporal 02-07-2012 03:07 PM

[QUOTE=Barry Godden;1346724]If you try it, make sure you wear gloves and a pair of sturdy boots with reinforced toe caps.[/QUOTE]
Great other advice, too, but THANK you for mentioning the gloves and boots. ALL of these online trainers are gloveless--kinda macho IMHO--but you'll get rope burns with a young horse.

ridesapaintedpony 02-11-2012 02:30 PM

CowgirlK 02-11-2012 04:45 PM

Thank you all for your help! It's been a few weeks and I finally got the time to come over and see her. I am avoiding lunging because the weather decided to be a blizzard today and I don't want something bad happening. I did get on her and ride her for about 10 mins though! It was nice! :D

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