My filly has just recently learned to lunge properly, and she's a dreamboat of a learner. She moves out properly, has whoa down pat (she stops so fast, I swear dirt flies, LOL) and today was listening to my voice to move out at a trot without the whip.
However - she pulls like CRAZY. I'm used to having sensitive faced Arabs, who really don't do a lot of leaning into the halter. Jynx is a Paint and teaching me a whole new way, hehe!
I tried lunging with a normal halter, and my hand almost fell off from the pressure. So I switched to her rope halter which helped a tiny bit, but only when I constantly jangle at the line which is mostly causing her to flip her head up, and move very off balance with her front end swung in, hind end swinging out. It's like she just has no sensitivity - she's not trying to run away, she'll go at a slow and steady trot, but leaning against the halter as hard as she can.
I really don't want to graduate to using a bit just yet, as she's not broke and I don't want to be putting that sort of pressure on her mouth before she learns how to lunge nicely.
Round pen or at least a corner. Once she figures out she can pull on you, or worse yet pull away, you will have a bigger issue.
try that with a 16.3hh, 1500+ lb horse! I almost never lunge him, but when I do I find it helps to pull his head in HARD untill he's where I want him, then release the pressure. AS soon as he pulls again, I pul back HARD untill he's responding, then drop the pressure. He's getting better about the idea I want him to go around without constant pressure
How long is the line you're working her on? You can try shortening it up and working her in smaller circles until she flexes more and gives you her head more willingly. In my experience this is not unusual for young ones as running around in circles is not a very natural thing for a horse.
Ok, thanks guys!
Yeah, I was using the "pulling" method and it was working fairly well, but it had to be constant and she kept flipping her head up, so I don't want her to become head shy from it, or associate lunging with bad.
I think I'll try the round pen - I've done round pen work on her, but not on a lunge line, so maybe that will help teach her she doesn't have to be pulling on me. Only reason I wasn't using the round pen is because it's the lowest spot on the farm, so the minute it rains, it's a complete mud pit, so lunging has to be an option because I can do that in the front yard.
She's actually caused me to pull a muscle in my arm. I didn't realize it at first, but today I'm in tons of pain. Rotten filly! Thanks for the comments, I'll try a few things and see if I can't get her listening better!
(I keep her sessions extremely short on the lunge, as soon as she's working nicely, I call it a day. I just need options for building some muscle, and it's helpful to teach her to listen to me. I plan to start ponying her soon to give her more exercise as she's quite a lazy pants in the pasture!)
She's using you to balance herself. A big no no - she needs to learn how to carry herself. If shanking (a sharp, quick yank and release) isn't doing any good because of a flat/web halter, you might try using a chain and run it up through the left cheek halter ring, over the nose and down through the right cheek ring, down through the halter ring (where you normally snap the lead) and clip it to itself - making a full chain circle around the nose that doesn't draw down - then attach your lunge line to that. She'll listen. Work on transitions and do not move beyond a walk until you can keep her from leaning on the line, then transition to a trot - then walk w/o her leaning on you, then to a canter for a few strides, then back to a trot and so forth. You get the idea. If you keep lunging her while allowing her to lean on you, all you are doing is practicing how to do it wrong.
Have you tried a chain? I never lunge a horse without a chain on for safety reasons. It has been ingrained into me for many years and I have never had a horse that pulled. I put the chain in the left side of the halter, run it under the chin, out the right side, and snap it back to the chain that is hanging underneath and attached to the lunge line. (I hope this makes sense) This way you can lunge both ways without changing the chain. Before you lunge with it, make sure and walk your horse around leading them with it and stopping them so they know it's not there to hurt them. It just gives you a bit more control if the horse freaks out on the end of the lunge line.
Then I would go into the roundpen and get your horse listening to you there, then a corner of an arena or pasture, then the center. Work on slow gaits - walk, easy trot, and when they won't pull there pick up the pace a little bit.
Try Monty Roberts' dually halter...it's built specially for horses that like to pull, once they start pulling the noseband tightens until they release pressure, then the noseband releasses pressure too. I heard it's great!
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