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JavaLover 05-14-2013 06:00 PM

Lunging question?
My mare just doesn't seem to have the lunging groundwork. Her previous owner lunged her before riding, just for a couple of minutes.

My first lunging session with her went great - she had a nice, steady trot and switched directions easily. Now, today is a different story. She was going good at first and then all of a sudden she kept turning towards me and stopping. When I would ask her to walk on she would walk towards me. I brought out the lunge whip to see if it would help but she was either still turning towards me and following, or cantering around like a crazy person.

Not sure how to get her on the right path!
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palogal 05-14-2013 06:11 PM

Does she absolutely need to be lunged to be ridden? If she does, she's got more problems than this. If she doesn't need to be lunged, don't lunge her.

JavaLover 05-14-2013 06:23 PM

No, she doesn't. I'm not riding her, I'm simply lunging her.
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JavaLover 05-14-2013 06:26 PM

Didn't know there was anything wrong with lunging a horse?
I'm not lunging her before I ride because I'm simply not riding her right now. I sprainedy ankle and want to make sure that she's still getting exercise. I was just stating that the only time she had been lunged by her previous owner was before a ride.

beau159 05-14-2013 06:33 PM

The majority of folks don't actually know how to lunge a horse and don't do it correctly. This sounds like the case here.

Lunging is all about body language and body position, with respect to the horse. If your horse keeps trying to stop and turn in to look at you, that means that YOU have positioned yourself too far forward in relation to her body. When you want the horse to go forward (let's say in a clockwise circle to the right), then you need to "point" with your right arm, and make sure your shoulders are also slanted to the right, and that your body position is at her hip. The entire time she is going, you need to keep that position at her hip.

When you want her to stop or change directions, then drop your "pointing" arm, face your shoulders to her, and position your body so you are ahead of her shoulders. (essentially cutting her off)

All of this is very hard to explain over the internet. It's much easier to have someone show you in person.

But it sounds like to me you are not lunging her correctly, and you are confusing her.

JavaLover 05-14-2013 06:38 PM

I bet you're right! Ill look up some lunging videos and look at body language
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Skyseternalangel 05-14-2013 06:39 PM

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She's turning into you because she's trying to stop the session. My horse did this because he wasn't up to working or because he felt I had asked him to halt.. and turning in was the answer.

If she turns in, chase her off. Once she's away and stuff allow her to settle, but if she's racing around like a crazy person, make the lunging circle smaller and spak to her in lowwww drawn out tones to get her to relax. As soon as you feel a change, let more lungeline out and allow her to be.

Stick with walking on the lungeline until she is relaxed and forward. Then ask for some trot and let her trot out for a bit. She may just be confused onto what she is expected to do since her sessions were so 'short'

JavaLover 05-14-2013 06:42 PM

Well that's what I'm thinking, but I've even hard a hard time chasing her off! It's like she's confused! Lol
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Skyseternalangel 05-14-2013 06:48 PM

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She probably is, by your body language. It takes horses time as well to learn what we are asking... even if we have the "right" body language. But again if your body language is telling her the opposite of what your words are telling her then there will be confusion.

Remember, as SOON as she does what you ask (or makes a small change in the right direction) ease off.

ponypile 05-14-2013 07:49 PM

As others have said, this is all about body language. Unless she's stopping abruptly, or making the circle small on her own or trotting AT you, she has likely asked you several times if she could stop, and you said yes! She has figured out that when she's in the middle with you, there's less work. So she slows down and angles towards you (swings her hind end away) asking if she can come in, you don't push her out back on the circle and forward, so she comes in. No wonder she seems confused when you try to send her back out when you've already told her its fine to come in. Either that or she doesn't like you on that particular side, and so she's moving it away from you.

For now you should always carry a whip with you. Not to smack her, but as an extension of your arm. It's all about timing, and the trick is to recognize when she's starting to turn in, and catch it before she's facing you. But this will be hard to recognize at first until she actually turns towards you. Before you start lunging, do some ground work. Get her moving away from you (backwards) when you walk towards her chest/shoulder. Get her so that she'll move away with you just walking towards her with purpose/while clicking (or whatever your "move it" cue is). When you're lunging her and she turns into you, push her back with your body language to stop her from coming in more. Push towards the inside shoulder to encourage her to move the shoulder away. At the same time swing the lunge whip at her barrel on her inside side. This combination will tell her to move her shoulder away from you, but to go forward, so she will move forward on the circle instead of moving forward towards you. She might just keep turning to face you if you're not firm enough. Don't get stuck trying to walk around her to get to her side and she keeps following you. Be very assertive about pushing her back, and make contact with the whip.

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