I typically just put my horse in the round pen and let him just run out any excess energy he might have built up on the days that I don't ride him. But the shows I go to, usually don't have a round pen to do that. So I've began training him to lunge. I've trained two other horses how to lunge but I've never had to deal with the issue that presents itself to me with him. He is responsive with the cues I give him for walk, trot, canter, slow. But he has the issue of changing direction by turning away from me, So then the lunge line is on the opposite side of his head, which makes it come up over his neck. Which of course, is a dangerous situation.
On some days he will change direction out of no where while he's cantering or trotting, and just take off in the other direction. I don't mind if he's turning IN and changing, but he turns toward the outside.
So as of late I've just been putting him on the lunge and having him walk in circles. If he starts acting stupid, then I make him move his feet. Is this a good way to get him out of the habit? Some other way?
He should never change directions without you telling him to. Every move he makes on the longe line should be asked for by you.
To me longing is totally counter-productive if it is not an exercise is obedience. Shorten up your longe line until you have perfect control at a closer distance. If he just starts to turn away from you, pull him around hard and discipline him by jerking the longe line, stopping him and starting him over.
I don't know what voice commands you are using, but I would highly suggest you do not use "walk" , "trot" and "canter". If you plan on showing a horse, you do not want it to ever respond to the announcer calling out transitions. Many horses learn this any way, especially if their rider makes transitions very quickly after the announcer. This is why many riders ride on 2 or 3 strides after the announcer speaks.
great post cherie
OP are you making sure to stay behind his drive line ? if i step in front of my horses shoulder she will stop or turn around. if i stay behind her shoulder in a neutral or driving position she will keep going forward.
Having your horse on a shorter line (a smaller circle) will give you more "contact" or "leverage" with communicating commands. Especially if the horse is green or hot-blooded in any way. Always stand at the apex of the triangle (right at their belly or "center") and drive your horse forward. Forward motion is everything, its the answer to most under-saddle problems too. If he tries to "wiggle" (demonstrate bad behavior on the lounge) then crack the lounge whip (This is not animated at all! The whip is held low by his hind legs and is cracked with a quick flick of the wrist. You will hear a distinct "cracking" sound when executed properly.) and send him forward. Eventually he will realize what you want from him is to focus on your body language and drive forward on the lounge. When you ask for a halt, stop movement with your body, if your horse does not slow then close your fingers on the line and give slight tension. Do not pull back harshly unless the horse is breaking through you. If the horse for example continues at the canter or speeds into a run, then first display a stotic and firm body language, followed by small half halts in the line (tension), if the horse still ignores you after you asked twice, then give him a yank and make it count. This is not a half-hearted pull, its an all out "I want you to stop NOW!" yank. Most horses will immediately slow or stop and most likely face you, and in this case return to your safe zone at it's center, and send them forward again; repeating the exercise until they lesson to the subtle cues you are making.
Hope that helps :)
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