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BugABooStreak 03-12-2013 09:49 PM

My horse refuses to canter while lunging
I have a 4 year old Appaloosa gelding who I just broke last year. He has a wonderful disposition and really has never given me too many problems. However when I lunge him, he can walk and trot beautifully and responds well, but when I ask for the canter its like trying to move a brick wall. With my other horses I have never had to do more then snap the whip to get them to respond, with him however, he hardly bats an eyelash. I actually smacked him on the rump with it a few times, and somewhere in the back of his mind he laughed and flipped me off. Its exhausting. He is a very sweet horse but I really just dont know what to do. It's like nothing phases him. He isnt taking me seriously, how can I show him that I mean business?

DraftyAiresMum 03-12-2013 09:59 PM

Are you free lunging or lunging on a line? How are you positioning your body when you ask him to speed up? How are you asking him to speed up (kissing, just snapping the whip...)?

It sounds like your whip is saying "Go faster", but your body isn't.

When I ask for a canter, I kiss, then put pressure on the horse's hip with my body language.
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BugABooStreak 03-12-2013 10:18 PM

I free lung him. When asking for the canter I move my body so I am behind his shoulder, kiss, and snap the whip. This was what my trainer had always taught me to.

DraftyAiresMum 03-12-2013 10:45 PM

I know sometimes with my boy (coming 4yo draft cross gelding), if he's feeling lazy, I have to take a few steps toward him (almost chase him, if you will) to get him to move into a canter. Have you tried something like that?
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Laffeetaffee 03-12-2013 11:16 PM

If he's not listening to the whip, then you might try to make a game out of it. I've worked plenty of horses that if you swung the whip and screamed and jumped around, the horse would just swish his tail and fall asleep because he knows that nothing you ever do will hurt him (and that's actually when I see a lot of animal abuse come into play because then the handlers might start whipping and beating the horse). So what I do is I free-lunge the horse in a round pen and then ask for him to turn. If he doesn't do it, I swing the lunge whip and smack it on the ground, and get after him until he does turn, then I back completely off and relax. I'll repeat that over and over, and I'll only swing the whip if he turns away from me when he transitions, or if he slows down. It basically becomes a game to the horse (don't touch it, it's lava!) to avoid the lunge whip because he begins to see that he has control over the pressure of the lunge whip. He can turn in to me and get no pressure or he can turn away from me and get a lot of pressure, or he can slow down and get some pressure.

BugABooStreak 03-12-2013 11:22 PM

Ha, yes he will canter if I chase him, but as soon as I stop, he stops. I'm no endurance runner so its not a very practical method. Is this just laziness? Or is he purposefully trying to be disrespectful? I feel like it is going to get to the point that he knows there is little I can physically do to make him canter and that he will just take advantage of that and become even more stubborn. Like I mentioned, even when I smacked him with the whip he had no reaction, so I feel like its more of "Oh yea, I'll show you"

Now that I think about it, moving into the trot he is very slow as well, though its a beautiful, smooth jog that is great under saddle. I think he starts trotting slow on the lunge line to spite me, not realizing its what I want. The little bugger...

Deschutes 03-12-2013 11:27 PM

I don't think it is disrespect. It could be a misunderstanding of cues on the ground, or just pure laziness. Or, it could be a pain issues? You said he is broke, so, can he canter under saddle or is he lead as well?

Is there any chance you could get a video?
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BugABooStreak 03-12-2013 11:46 PM

Unfortunately I am awaiting for the weather to cooperate here, the round pen is horribly muddy, so I dont know if/when I could get a video. Cantering under saddle... is still kind of a concerning experience for me. The last time we did it, he threw me off, and my collar bone snapped like a dry tree branch. (surgery has since fixed it) But anyways, thats the reason I want to work on him with cantering in the round pen so we can eventually move back out to the pasture.

Thank you for all your advice and patience with me though!

Deschutes 03-12-2013 11:55 PM

How did he throw you off? Bucking? If it is, I'd get him vetted, chiro'd, tack checked, teeth checked, feet looked at, etc.

I can understand the hesitation. Is there also anyone more experienced who can help in your area? Would hate for you to get hurt again.
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gambler2007 03-13-2013 10:12 AM

Have you tried lunging him on a line?

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