Your thoughts on round penning
How do you see the value in round penning as a training tool?
What is your understanding of join up?
Is it something you rely on and cant do without or is it something you see no use for at all or do you find it an occasional thing to fall back on
Would you use it in what many call a predator/prey sense where the horse is run around to the point where it either feels exhausted and gives up because its defeated or because its bored and wants to 'play a different game'?
Do you see it as a form of liberty work - alongside lunging/longeing where the horse is working in a disciplined situation obedient to voice commands or body language?
Should your body language be quiet and understandable to the horse or should it be aggressive and intimidating. Do you know the difference?
These are two very opposite thoughts on the use of round penning (as I see)
The first is using it as a means to exhaust a horse thats afraid of being sacked out with a rope. The person mentions running it around approx 100 times. The horse then accepts to rope because 'it was made harder to not accept
Is this horse a willing partner now or is it a begrudging surrender?
There is a lot in between
NOTE - This is not about the 'trainers' here or if you like or dislike them so please dont get into that.
Thoughts please not arguments
I use it to establish a relationship. The horse is free to move about the pen so he doesn't feel trapped or confined like a long line can do. As he walks about, I start to direct his movements by my body language. Moving toward his rear him moves him on forward, stepping in toward his front, slows or turns him. It isn't about running a horse or tiring him out. It is a dance, I move and he responds. It takes a bit to learn the steps but if done calm and quietly, the horse stays relaxed and learns to listen to your directions.
I roundpen when I need to remind a horse that I am the unstoppable force and immovable being. It reminds them that, "oh yeah, I do what this girl says," and re-establishes that I am top dog.
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I see value in roundpenning, but what you do in there can be done in a paddock or arena too - the pen itself is just a bit smaller so you don't have to be as fit to get around it! I see no point in exhausting a horse, that's predator/herd bully behaviour and animals that are stressed eventually switch off and stop learning.
What I do use it for is moving the horse's feet to establish respect and my place at the top of the pecking order. Has never taken more than 10 minutes in my experience and changes of direction are way more important than just getting the horse to run around. At first the horse won't like being cut off so you have to reinforce it with "loud" body movements and maybe a few cracks of the whip, but eventually all you need to do is indicate that you'll be stepping one way, and the horse will move off. Once I'm getting the feel that the horse is responding well to my body language without resistance, I ask for a "whoa", walk up and give it one stroke on the nose. If the horse follows happily and doesn't try and walk ahead of my shoulder, the job's done. Some horses need regular reminders, some never need it done in the first place - it all depends on the personality.
I have used my paddocks to round pen horses, often I find when I need to reestablish my need for space and that it's better to be with me than off fluffing around, that I need to do it right then and there, not 5 minutes later when I've marched them down to the round pen.
Though I typically don't use the 'make them work' mentality, I do use it when I feel it's the clearest way to make the point.
Most recently my mare threw a hissy fit when her pony went out of her sight in his paddock. This is an issue she's worked out and doesn't usually bother her any more, but that day it did and she was being silly about it. I went to groom her and she was too focused on where the pony was to stay still and just be groomed. So I decided letting her see that if she wants to move, she can keep moving - that the more she focuses on the pony the more she has to work, until she was content with just my company for the time.
This time went better than usual, rather than me having to keep her moving through all the corners or chasing her up and down the rectangular paddock, she stayed circling me, which was really great! But sure enough, she fell down, just got tangled up in her feet and fell over onto her side >.< My massive draft horse with all four legs in the air, too her a good minute to get up again, she was horrified. I had no idea what to do, to keep going or run over and hug and kiss her precious face. But before I could decide she was off again, so I waited until she submit (she was not limping or anything). It only took less than a minute more before she came in to me and followed me politely as usual.
I checked her over and her side was sore, but not awful. The next day she was stiff, the next she was fine.
I don't think I'll be doing that any more. But this is my personal choice.
I still think it's a great tool, I'll just keep things softer with my horses.
What I get annoyed with is the promotion of the roundpen by YouTube trainers as a must-have item (which, for your convenience, they just happen to be selling! Hooray!). If you've got any form of smallish area and a $25 driving whip you're all set to do groundwork, no need for anything else.
Evil- I just use a lead rope and hold the clip end to swing, so the clip doesn't come back and hit me xD
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