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GeminiJumper 07-28-2008 05:00 PM

Free Lunging Question
Sorry if I misspelled lunging or is it lounging? Oh well.

So yesterday I decided to free lunge my project horse because I couldn't get on and ride him. I got bucked off/dragged by him last wednesday and my mom won't let me get back on him until she can talk with his owner about all that. I'm not at all afraid to ride him again, heh, after all that I got right back up on him to make sure I wasn't scared to get back on!


When I free lunged him (no halter or lunge line) with just a lunge whip, he turned totally sweet on me and knew everything that I asked him to do. I could get him to turn around and go the other direction but it took some persuading. I'll tell you what I do so you can tell me what I'm doing wrong.

Say I'm having him heading left. I have my left arm out pointing in the direction and the lunge whip out behind his butt (not actually touching him but in that general direction) to form that triangle. And now I want him to rock back on his hocks and turn the other way. So I put the lunge whip in my left hand, step out quite a ways so as to "block him" from going forward, and snap the whip or thwack it on the ground or something. My problem is, I usually have to step over two or even three times before he'll stop and reverse. What am I doing wrong?

And is he supposed turn towards me when he's turning or turn towards the fence? Because he turns towards the fence and then will sometimes buck.

All in all, he's very smart about it. He keeps his inside ear on me the WHOLE time and will lick his lips every once in a while and as soon as I turn away or stop moving, he stops and comes to stand in the middle. Heh, he doesn't even try to eat the grass that's in the round pen!!! And he's on one of those HUGE fans of grass!!!!!

Any tips or suggestions??

dimmers_double 07-28-2008 05:43 PM

Maybe i can help
this is something that you need to work on on a daily basis. i used this method with my gelding. first of all, when you free lunge, its almost like using a round pen. when you ask for the horse to switch directions, you want them to turn away from you so that their butt is to you and not turn toward you. this teaches them to roll back and is very helpful in future training. next. it sounds like the horse is being stubborn. some people lunge just like you do. using your arm to guide them. i, on the other hand, do not, with my horses, it confuses them. i use my arm to stop them (so to speak). when i bring my arm out, i am asking them to slow down or stop. when trying to get him to turn. ask for it until he responds. even if you have to 'get up in his face.' as soon as he responds. let him trot aroiund and tell him he' a good boy. i usully let my horse trot around me for 1 or 2 circles so they can 'absorb' what i just asked of them. then i bring them in and reward. if you do this, eventually you be able to ask him to turn and he will do it perfectly. i also am a fan of voice commands. when ever i ask my horses to turn a different direction on the lunge, i say "hup". i say it with a really sharp, assertive, but kind voice. this way, eventually all you need to do is change hands with te whip and "hup"
I hope i helped you out. if you have any more questions let me know :D

GeminiJumper 07-28-2008 06:40 PM

Thank you soooo much!!!

I'm going out there tonight so I will definitely plan on not using my hand to point/guide him in the direction. So we'll see if that helps him out.

dimmers_double 07-28-2008 09:24 PM

the main thing is to not give up. if you are still having problems, email me and i can possibly send you a video of me lunging. (i dont do free lunge but it will give you an idea)

GeminiJumper 07-28-2008 09:28 PM

So I just got back from working with him. And I didn't use my hand to point in the direction I wanted him to go and he did really well. He stopped on the spot and usually only had to step out and back once. He's a little stiff/unresponsive on his left side. So yeah, I gotta work on that more.

Miss Katie 07-29-2008 05:17 AM

I use the same method as Dimmers and I can lunge both horses in a large ring or 1/4 acre paddock, with them working aroundme in about a 15 m circle. Its vry efective and I think once your horse gets the idea and learns to respect what you are asking for you'll have no trouble.

Make sure you are consistant with turning to the outside. And dont be scared to give the horse a good workout until he will turn as soon as asked.

dimmers_double 07-29-2008 12:53 PM

i find this method very effective with all kinds of horses because its simple and to the point. this is how train all horses that i work with. lunging should be an enjoyable workout for your horse. not boring circles or a circles full of anticipation confusing cues. im glad i could help. keep up working with him and really work on his stiff side. i normally will have my horse lunge on his stiff side more then his good side. i also what my friend calls gives and hips over. gives is whenre, at a stand still, ask your horse to bring his nose to your boot. dont let him walk around. just standing. hips over is when i bring the rein to my hip and my horse does a really tight circle. this one is very helpful when your horse is acting up.
Hope this helps!

Normal Guy 10-14-2010 09:30 AM

Dimmers, i am confused by your advice to Gemini. I have always been taught that when free lounging in a round pen, always make sure that your horse turns face toward you (rear end away) just like they were disengaging. Other trainers have told me that if the horse turns with his hind quarters to you that they are exhibiting hostile and disrespectful behavior. I am not saying that you are wrong, only that your advice to Gemini conflicts with my previous understanding. I would appreciate any further explanation that you might be inclined to provide. Thanks!

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