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Wallaby 06-08-2009 12:04 AM

Lunging cues?
What cues do you use to tell your horse to slow down when you lunge them? How do you follow those cues up if the horse doesn't respond with slowing down?

Lacey has been progressing a lot in her understanding of lunging and for that I am very proud. She has no problem going faster when I ask and she's very very good at slowing from the canter to a trot.

The major problem is with her walk and trot transitions. She has a tendency to start trotting before I ask when I want her to be walking. When she does that I'll tug on the line and generally make her face uncomfortable (probably not the best solution, but I don't know how to stop her). It usually takes her a few steps to slow down then. After she does that I like to wait until she's walking nicely for a few circles, with her head even with her withers (she carries it higher when she's stressed at all) and then ask for a trot. She also stops completely pretty darn well from the walk.

Once she gets into the trot though she's almost impossible to stop. She will respond to "Eassssyyy" by doing more of a jog trot but she won't walk unless she's tired. I've tried letting her trot and trot and trot until she doesn't want to anymore but she has no issues stopping once she's a little bit tired, it's just in the first 15 minutes of lunging she won't walk from the trot unless I really yank on her face. I've also tried pushing her to go faster and faster but all that did was make her wary of lunging which I don't want becuase she's already a very wary horse.

I don't use a whip when I lunge becuase she's pretty sensitive about the whip, even though can touch her all over with it and she doesn't flinch. If I use a whip and try to lunge her she really won't stop. I think that's also partially from the fact that I have this weird issue with my hands where they copy eachother's movements so when I wave one hand the other one will move, basically if I jerk on the line to try to get her to walk the whip is jerked around too.

I feel like there has to be a better way to communicate slowing to her than just yanking on her face and teaching her that disobiedence causes pain and scarey-ness when she's already worried about people.

Scoutrider 06-08-2009 07:01 AM

Make sure when you want her to slow down or stop you step in front of her driveline (the girthline). If you were using a whip I would say move it to the hand closest to your mare's nose and jiggle it to create pressure ahead of the driveline and influence her to stop. If you are circling counterclockwise, lungeline in your left hand, switch the line to your right hand and take a giant step out of the "triangle" to the left, holding your left hand out and firmly saying your "downshift" walk cue. If your mare does not respond the first time, continue holding your hand out and jiggle the lungeline, putting more energy ahead of the driveline.

I usually start this process using some kind of whip or stick to give my arm more reach, and the horse gets used to it enough to not need the whip, only the movement of my hand or the verbal cue.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

White Foot 06-08-2009 08:37 PM

I was always taught that when you tell a horse to walk,trot or canter faster you stare at their eye/head area and keep on them and have the "I'm the boss" stance. When you want them to slow down you take your eyes off the head and stare at the butt area and say "easy" and your body language should soften.

Solon 06-08-2009 09:09 PM

If she's trotting before you are asking, make your circles smaller so you can bring her back down to the walk. My cue for walk is waaaaalk - just the word drawn out and low. His trot cue is 'trot-trot' said very quickly and upbeat and his canter cue is a smooching sound.

I don't use a lunge line when I lung him (free lunge in the pasture or arena) so if he's misbehaving I ask him to come into the center and then I send him off at the walk.

I've also seen people raise their hand for the slow down cue so it's a bit of a visual as well. I raise my hand for him to come into the circle. They can respond to sight cues or verbal ones.

Wallaby 06-08-2009 09:55 PM

How do you teach them what the hand signals or the words mean? How do you enforce the cue?

I've tried bringing her into a smaller circle but she will continue to trot even when she's only a foot or so away from me which is a little scary (I'm pretty sure it's fear not disrespect on her part). I know she wouldn't intentionally run me over or something but in that close of quarters I'm scared that if she spooks or decides to kick or rear (she doesn't rear often but every once in a while a baby rear will come out) I'll be a goner.

I guess maybe I'll just spend a day or two focusing solely on trying different techniques, that don't involve pulling on her face, to get her to stop when I tell her to

I just had a thought that may or may not work: what if when I started lunging her, right as she starts looking like she's gonna trot, I tell her to trot, then I just don't say anything until she's tired enough to walk when I say (once she gets good and tired she will stop with just a "waaallllk")? That might back fire completely but positively it would set her up to succeed every time and success is a big motivator for her.

Equestriun- That is pretty much what I've been doing. Plus tugging on the line. She just doesn't get it, I can turn around, hunch over and stare at the ground (super submissive) and she will continue to trot until I literally force her to stop, which is where the line tugging came in. =/

eventerdrew 06-08-2009 09:59 PM

When teaching my horse to longe, I would say "easy" to slow down and gently pull the longe line to signal to them that it means slow down and bring the circle smaller. When they learn what the cue means, you don't usually have to tell them with anything but the voice.If she still doesn't listen, try not moving with her. Stay where you are and let her go around you until she figures out that you're not moving. Obviously keep switching the longe line into different hands to avoid a tangle :)

good luck!

Spirithorse 06-08-2009 10:04 PM

To ask for a downward transition, I turn into the horse's movement (it's like a wall of energy in front of the drive line), raise my stick in front of him, then shake my rope in increasing intensity until he makes the transition. When he does, I go back to neutral (I don't move when I circle my horse, I stand still). The more my horse understands the concept, the more subtle I get. And then the more challenging I make it. Right now with my warmblood I'm working on halt-canter departures and canter-halt-back up downward transitions. I always warm up with the easy stuff first, along with stretching his topline at all 3 gaits, just to get him in tune with me.

Solon 06-08-2009 10:09 PM

It's all about reward-reward-reward. Basically when he was walking and I wanted him to trot, I get him going with the trot-trot cue and then really tell him good job, good boy, lots of pats when he did it. Just kept practicing that over and over.

Same with the slow down cue. I really went all out on the praise when he did it right and keep practicing.

As far as the hand movement I don't know how I managed that. He just started understanding the cue to come into the circle "come" alongside with the hand raised meant he was to come into the circle. Now I can do it without the cue and he comes right in.

I've seen others do the same thing with slowing the horse down on the lunge line so I think they just associate with the words.

For a horse the continues to move forward my trainer will jerk hard on the lead line, if they still won't slow she will snap the whip in front of them and if they still won't slow they get a smack across the front legs (not hard but enough to get their attention).

After that, they pay attention and there isn't any more issue. She gives them more line and if the misbehave and do not slow down again, she brings them back into a small circle and works them there. Eventually they understand what is going on.

Wallaby 06-08-2009 10:14 PM

Maybe I'll try a combination of cues since she will slow down when I say easy, maybe I'll see if she'll respond to the use of "easy" as something like a half-halt preparing her for the next cue... So it'll be like "easy" *she slows down* "walk" *hopefully she walks*....

She could care less if I'm moving or not. If I'm not moving she starts doing more of a jog thing but she keeps up the trot. >.< It's like she's on cruise control or something, she can be obviously tired but she won't walk.

Sometimes I feel like some one played mind games with my po-neh, back in the day. It's almost like they tried to see how messed up they could get her without making her seriously dangerously messed up.

I'm sure there's a way to get her to walk I just need to figure out how to communicate walking to her.

Edit: You guys ninja'd me! =P
Maybe I'll try some weird maneuvers with treats (her favorite sort of praise) becuase she learns very very quickly when treats are involved... If those other ideas don't work of course.

Yknow what? I just had another brilliant idea. I taught her to stop when I say "ho" when I was leading her and that has translated to her undersaddle knowledge and to her lunging knowledge. I could try doing a similar thing with trot to walk...

Sorry for being so wordy... I like to talk. :wink:

Solon 06-08-2009 10:17 PM

Try what I mentioned. If she won't walk, snap the whip, if she still won't walk, smack her across the legs. She'll slow down then. It sounds like she's buffaloing you and exerting herself. They can use a lot of attitude when it comes to doing what they want. As soon as you let her know you are the one in charge, you'll notice a change.

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