Refuses to Lunge
Hi all, I have a 9 yr old Morgan I lease who had until about a month ago lived a pasture life with noone working with him (I don't think his owners have seen him in years). He is very smart and very stubborn. He is the dominant in his herd and it shows during training sessions. My problem right now is he refuses to lunge, but just for me. He will for my friend Parker, but not for me. I know it is a respect thing, but how to remedy it?
Also, how do you discipline a horse without it being abusive? I usually do the circle trick but what if that still doesnt deter the behavior?
Thanks in advance!
I find that when training horses, consistency is key. And to be consistent we must first be confident.
There is a horse at my barn that typically lunges/kicks at everyone except for his riders, myself and 2-3 others. The people he knows he can intimidate are the ones that he is the worst with. All that I do is look at him in the eye and treat him as if nothing is going to happen when I walk by, and if something does, I kick him in the gut, growl loudly and he stops. That's basically a life/death situation though.
The reason the horse lunges for your friend is because he probably thinks nothing of it and just expects the horse to lunge and so it does, and when it doesn't he cracks the whip at it. It's really not that difficult, if the horse knows how to lunge then we just expect him to with no questions asked. Watch your friend lunge a horse and try to mimic his body language.
Also for disciplining the horse, you really shouldn't have to do anything too drastic. It depends on the behavior, but usually I like to think of disciplining as interrupting and correcting the horse. If he is walking and we want him to stand still, then stop him and reverse him back to where we want him. If he is not picking up his foot, then we poke/tap him and repeat the aid, etc.. Basically think of it as teaching a child. We help or correct when necessary and otherwise try to interfere as little as possible.
why do you want to lunge the horse?
Normally if I want to discipline Sonny, I have him do something he dislikes then come back to the thing that he isn't doing. Of course at first I assess if something physical is making him act up or not listen.
Here's a good link that Appy gave me which is so true:
Has your friend Parker lunged him before? If so, how much? I agree with Anabel in that you need to just be consistent and confident in what you're doing. Do you use a stick or lunge whip while you lung? They help me a lot when the horse isn't listening. (Not hitting them, but just as a re-enforcer behind them to get them moving. It also helps to get them away from you as they are moving around you, if they keep a tight circle around you.)
I use a lunge whip as a reinforcer, just smack the dirt behind him. I like to lunge him before a trail ride, it gets all his "ants in his pants" out before we take off. My friend Parker only lunged him once, and thats the only time I have seen the horse lunge, but he (the horse) obvious knows how to do it. I think you're right, its a confidence thing. He also has a TON of ground manner problems we are working through from being left in the pasture and not touched for years. I suppose consistency is the key here, just frustrating, you know? :o)
Take your time with him and don't rush into anything. If he's been sitting for a few years, he needs to get back into a shape and rebalance himself.
When you lunge, do you do it online or off line? Do you do it in a round pen or an arena?
I suggest you do it in a round pen (the circle is already there). Since he has some other ground issues, I suggest that you do not lunge him off line. If he doesn't respect you, nothing is keeping him out on the circle, and that can get dangerous.
Start with may steps with him. Do a smallish circle on a line at just the walk. Praise him when he's circling around you. If he stops or comes in, drive him away from you and make him move his feet. Once you have the basics walk down pat, go into a larger circle and ask for the walk and trot. Continue doing it until you can make him w/t/c online and listen to your voice commands.
I do agree the a lunge whip works well. Think of it as an extension of your arm. It will also keep you at a safe distance from him, should he choose to be a dork and kick out or something.
Also, maybe next time you lunge him and Parker is there, Ask him to come give you pointers/help out. It may prove to help you out :)
Awesome, thanks Appy. I actually don't use a line, but I will today. I do use the round pen. Good idea to start slow and with the basics. Thanks!!
I know how that feels. I had been working with my gelding for a while and getting the lunging down. He was doing great! Then he got kicked in the leg and couldn't be worked for about 5-6 weeks. I'm finally starting to work with him again and it's like he forgot everything!! I know he didn't, but he's being a dork and not doing what I'm asking, so we have to start with basics to get going again. It can be very aggravating.
I know it's a bit of a different situation...But yeah. I guess it just takes a lot a lot of patience. =] Good luck! Give us updates!
Thanks Reese :) I know, it can be very aggrevating when he wants to be a total dork. :op Boy, he is in for a training session this afternoon! =)
I had the opposite problem with my mare. I'd take her in the round pen and she'd take off. And I didn't use a line.
i started with a 10ft lead and just started with the walk, and worked our way up. Now she'll w/t/c on line no problem.
Let us know how it goes!
Also, don't get frustrated if you dont make a lot of progress today. Just remain calm:D
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