How would you train a horse to be lunged?
My friend is getting a horse late summer, and the horse doesn't know how to lunge, apparently she keeps coming back to the person in the center. How would you teach her to lunge properly?
Have a person in the middle (main handler) standing as if lunging normally, and have another handler the horse trusts at the horses head. The handler at the horses head leads and guides the horse out and leads them in the circle around the centre handler. Gradually reduce the influence of the handler at the horses head until the horse understands it is to work alone.
For trot, use the handler again and get them to respond instantly to the trot cue from the main lunger and lead the horse into trot too. Again reduce the influence of the handler at the horses head as the horse learns what is expected when given a cue to move up a gait.
For the turning in, once she has learnt how to lunge, everytime she turns inwards flick the line up to turn her head out and ask her on again. If she turns in when you have asked for halt, do lots of walk-halt-walk transitions and she'll soon learn stepping her butt outwards is a waste of energy as she'll have to turn back when you ask her forwards.
Btw, if you and your friend don't have much experience lunging, find a horse who knows what to do so you can learn off him. Its easy to get the line into spagetti loops when your trying to learn and teach at the same time!
Word of warning- don't confuse confusion and naughtiness. Confusion will probably turn into naughtiness if not handled right, or a confused horse might lash out which causes loss of confidence in both horse and handler, and its a lot harder to fix a problem than it is to avoid it!!
Thanks that's really helpful. :)
Use the word, "And..." right before a command, to teach your horse to expect a command.
It is fine to have someone lead the horse on the circle providing they are prepared to walk miles and run even further!
Personally I can honestly say that I have never used a person to do this.
I start by walking the horse around an arena (I do not like round pens) I am walking in the left of the horse so hold the lunge line in my left hand and the whip in my right.
Gradually I move a step or two away from the horse and keep him away from me with the handle of the whip. When he has the idea of this I will start to walk a large circle because the horse is on a short line so I can keep him away from me, As he circles I keep the whip behind him. Gradually I lengthen the rein so he is on a larger circle but still at this point he is on a shorter rein than normal and I am walking a circle.
I will flip him with the whip and tell him to teeer - rott.
They catch on very quickly.
I will say that because a horse turns in at the handler does not mean it does not know how to lunge, it is more likely to have learnt that by doing this they get out of work!
The person lungeing needs to be very fast and as it turns move so that their body is level with the horse's hip and the lunge whip is behind it driving it forward.
I use Clinton Andersons sending exercise and slowly send them further around me until they are going all the way around. They catch on quick to what your asking and has always worked for me.
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Hey, I'm the friend getting the mare in question. I haven't had the chance to see her behaviour while lunging for myself as shes not mine until August however I have heard (like horsezrule said) that she apparently will not lunge. She is 14/15yrs old so theoretically would've been lunged at some point in her life so I'm thinking she's fallen into a habit of evading work on the lunge. Under saddle she is totally different and is very willing to work and do anything asked of her. When I get her I'm hoping it'll become obvious as to whether or not she doesn't understand whats being asked of her or whether somewhere along the line she has been allowed to fall into the habit of turning in and therefore avoid being lunged. Thanks for you comments, keep them coming, I'm open to ideas! Also not heard of the Clinton Anderson sending exercise though?
Do you have an experienced, not necessarily a trainer, person that could help you in person? They would be able to show you and correct you if you are doing it wrong.
The sending exercise should be after the horse knows how to lunge correctly.
First, hold your arm out with the rope and point to give direction. Your horse probably will not respond. In your other hand would be a cue stick, whip or end of the rope. Swing in big circles using your whole arm to create pressure for the horse to move away.
Most likely, your horse will just stand there or back away. Keep pointing and swinging your arm and start walking towards your horses head until the horse turns its front end away and moves forward. You may end up hitting the horse before it moves away. Some may not like doing that but you did already give the horse fair warning to move. When she does move forward, stop everything you are doing. Let your arms hang at the side. You are just trying to first teach her to move forward.
Once she gets that concept down, then you can work on keeping her moving forward and the stopping. Here's how I get them to stop. I slide my hand down the rope, pull the rope to my stomach, and step towards their tail. At first, they may think you are asking to go forward faster. Just repeat but this time swing your other arm towards their butt.
Repeat the whole thing except opposite arms for the other direction.
A word of caution: DON'T have her go more than 2 or 3 circles before stopping and changing directions. She will lose focus on you and will start pulling on you. If she does, start changing directions more often.
Once she gets decent at this, you can start on changing her direction without stopping. It's a little more complicated so I won't go into it right now. just let me know if you would like info on that.
Posted via Mobile Device
Thanks for outlining that exercise, we'd never heard of it before, though I don't think I'd hit her to move away from me, it's not the way I like to work. I am experienced and know how to lunge correctly, as I said above I haven't actually seen the horse being lunged yet so me and "horsezrule" are just trying to gain a few ideas for when she does arrive so we can be prepared for every eventuality! It's not overly important to me that she MUST lunge, but would be good to see if I can break the habit as there may be a day in the week every now and then where I may need to lunge her just for some exercise if I can't ride! You never know, she may turn up to my yard and lunge beautifully after all this haha :lol: Thanks for all the ideas!
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