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How To Lunge A Horse Without A Round Pen?
I had to take my round pen down and move it to another property, so I could work with my other horse at the time. I'm trying to get my gelding in shape this spring, but he only knows how to lunge in the round pen. For some reason, when I try to lunge him in the pasture, he just yields his hindquarters to face me. When I tap him on the butt (not hard) with the lunge whip, he will take a few steps, but they are toward me.
Can someone please tell me how to teach my gelding to lunge out of the round pen?
I've never used a round pen. And lounge all of our horses, sadly I don't know how to tell you how. I'm just not good at expressing my thoughts. Especially typing them. Just ask my wife! Lol. If you have a specific question I may be able to help though
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it could be that you are stepping ahead of his drive line, the front shoulders. If you step ahead they will usually stop or turn into you. Try and keep in one stop to send off and then stay behind the drive line....
This is why I don't like round pens.......they are a crutch for the horse (as the horse has a wall to 'balance' his circles upon, ie hes not upright hunting a circle like on a lunge line out in the open, and the handler gets an easy deal in the round pen. A lot of horses who are only lunged in a round pen come out of there to be lunged in an arena or pasture and lean all over the lunge line and its like restarting all over again......I love corners, they are good teaching tool.....why'd we have to take em all away and make round pens? :lol:
When I was teaching mine, she'd do the same thing. What I found to be really helpful was to start with a very short line (I used a 6 ft. lead rope) and then getting her to walk around me in a very small circle. That way, when she stopped or turned towards me, I could sort of "lead" her, while also using the whip to cue her. Once she got it, I just increased the size of the circle and went from there. I agree with Muppetgirl, lunging on a line is a very useful skill for a horse to have!
or that you are driving his hind quarters away from you. If he puts his hind out of the circle to face you, move his fore off back onto the circle, then put drive on his driveline, not his behind. the driveline is about where the girth is.
I also started with just a longish lead rope at a walk, so that my horse was close enough that I could quickly correct him when he turned into me or stopped. Once he learned the queues and we were both more practiced in reading each other, I moved him onto a real lounge line and bigger circles/ the faster gaits.
Remember to keep track of your body language, so you're not confusing your horse, too. Like I said, I had to work on myself just as much as I worked on my horse, haha- just learning to be more open and concise with my signals, like keeping my body open in the direction I wanted him to go. I don't know what signals you use, but I use a mixture of voice and body queues.
I've never used a round pen, and I know exactly what you're talking about! It's very frustrating! The way I got past this while breaking my mustang was to not start out by lunging. Clip the line to his halter and walk around him, tug his head towards you so he knows that you are the focus. Sounds weird, but its important. Then, stand at his side, point the direction you want him to go (keep your body facing the direction he needs to be going as well), click, whip the ground behind his tail. Do that two or three times and then tap him on the butt if he is still coming back in to you. Just keep sending him back out and creating energy behind him. Be firm, and don't call it quits for the day until you get him to do what you're asking. You might have to chase him around a bit so he gets the idea that he needs to keep forward movement, just make sure to keep his head in your direction because if he turns his nose out he will get away from you since there are no boundaries. It's definitely harder to lunge them without a round pen, and takes way more time for them to get the hang of it, but it makes it all worth while when you can go to the trails and free lunge him for a few seconds before a ride.
What are you using to lunge him? A halter? Caveson? Off the bridle? If the handler is pulling the head in, the horse will step away with the quarters.
This is precisely why the horse has to learn to lunge properly in the first place. First question: Do you not have a fence line/corner to start in? Next: the caveson hand must face the horse's head (elbow bent just like riding), the whip points at the croup (raising whip means go/lowering means slow or stop). Start with a HELPER (on the outside) and have them lead the horse. Be far enough away that you cannot get (cow) kicked, but not so far that the whip cannot touch the point of the hip. Go/stop with helper. Than have them drop away. (Ideally having side reins will help keep the horse straight as well, so if you pull too much the horse is less likely to turn to face you.....which is typical round pen behavior: you cut the horse off it turns away/you drop behind the horse faces or comes to you)
Nevertheless if he is facing you it is easier to get him going again (even if it is slightly leg yielding away). But it is up to you to keep him in the 'pie' of hand pointing at head and whip hand pointing at hip. Remember he has to move, ideally you stay in one place.
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