Lunging Issue - pulling
Hey all. So I finally have Mateo at his new barn and decided to check and see if he still knew how to lunge. The only issue is that he is in quarentine for the next few weeks so I cant take him out of his little field. So I lunged him out there. The only issue is that he pulls the crap out of the line. Any ideas on how I can get him to stop this? I try to keep him near the gate, which has a circular type fence and the water trough on the other side, but he almost runs into (or tries to jump over) the water trough then pulls towards fence. Just cant get him to stop the pulling!
Are you using a web halter? If you are, a rope halter will be more effective. When He leans on the halter, give a little tug and then release. Be sure that if he is NOT leaning on the halter, like he should be, that you have slack in the lead line as his release.
My gelding was horrible to lunge! He would pull you and end up ripping the rope out of your hands... I switched to a rope halter and no he lunges like a dream :)
*Assuming you know what you're doing*, sounds like he's not up to lunging yet. How does he lead? Does he yield(respond softly without reacting or resisting) to the pressure from the lead/halter in all directions, does he yield to your direct(pushing) pressure? Implied(bodylanguage, waving whip or rope) pressure? Does he understand a whip, if you're using one - he isn't afraid of it at all?
If the answer to any of those things is 'no' or 'not great' then I'd personally get those basics down pat before gradually increasing the distance until it's 'lunging'. I use lunging type exercises to teach/reinforce/test the horse responding to me at a distance.
he does great on the lead, yields softly, and responds to the whip. i do not whip him with the whip, i only use it as pressure on his hind quarters to get him to a trot. that's when he pulls. i will have to try the rope halter. i have one back at my ex's house so it'll be a while before i can get it, but i hadnt thought of that. thanks for the advice!
My personal opinion, don't get a rope halter. If a horse does something wrong, getting a stronger tool is not the answer. My opinion, which may be a longer more difficult way of doing it, but will get you a more solid horse in the end - is to teach the horse to lunge correctly.
Take him back to the beginning of lunging. Start with a long lead rope and a flat halter, use the lunge whip, line yourself up appropriately, ask for a walk, slowly let the circle get larger, if he begins pulling, make the circle smaller again - you went too fast. If he only pulls at the trot practice at the trot (you'll want a lunge line, not a long lead rope for that though). Start in small, easily controlled circles, ask for a nice trot, if he pulls ask for tighter circles. It sounds to me like this horse needs to be restarted in lunging.
Also - for what purpose are you lunging the horse? Lunging to me is an in between skill - not for everyday use. It's good for teaching your horse how to be sent away, it's good to teach your horse to drive forward from his hind end, it's good to practice gait transitions on the ground, but only walk-trot-walk-halt sort of transitions, cantering on a lunge is SO bad for their joints and unless your teaching students who are just learning the feel for a canter - I see no purpose in cantering on a lunge.
If you're looking to exercise him and keep him mentally active, lunging really isn't a good choice - it's so mind-numbing for a horse to just move off in circles. Get an extra lunge line and line-drive him, you don't need a surcingle you can use a saddle or even just a polo wrap wrapped around his girth area with some rings run through the polo to run the lines through. Personally I don't use either, I just let the lines hit their sides (it helps to build walls) you just need to be very careful not to let the lines get low enough for them to get caught in. Ground drive him all around his field, over poles, over tarps, through any obstacle you can make. This will help better him in So many ways, far more effective than just running circles.
Good luck with your horse :)
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