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cheply 09-18-2009 07:47 PM

Horse would not lunge
So today I went to ride Rain and she seemed pretty antsy when I was tacking her up... she was stomping her feet a lot and lifting to kick (what does stomping mean? Her ears werent pinned) So I figured since she was acting so funny I should lunge her before I rode.

So.. I don't have much practice at all lunging a horse. I've lunged a schoolmaster once.

... Rain is a 5 year old.

Anyway, I got her to go one way fine (after a little work trying to get her not to walk towards me), walk, trot, canter.. but when I switched to the other direction... all she would do is walk towards me and try to get on the wrong side of me so she wouldn't be lunged..

I didn't know what to do. I tried for so long. So I tried to switch her back to the good direction and she wouldn't lunge that way anymore either.

I didn't get on her because I don't know her very well yet (I've had 5 rides... and am now leasing her.. but 5 rides is not very many.) and wasn't sure how bad her bad days are.

So I guess my questions are... how do you lunge a horse whose avoiding the line? and what does foot stomping mean?

Also, do you guys have any suggestions for good books on horse behaviour and also some books on training.. horse and rider. (we are both green!)

weefoal 09-19-2009 07:10 AM

You need to try and find a reputable trainer to come to your place and work with both you and the horse. This is usually much more effective then reading a book although reading is good too.

Sounds to me like she is confused on what you wanted her to do when you reversed directions which is very common when a horse has never lunged before. Now the bad thing is you stopped without making her lunge so in effect you are training her the reverse of what you want.

Never go to lunge her again unless you have the time and help to get the job done. For a new horse it helps to have a helper that shows the horse which direction to go while you stay at the whip. Body position is really important too. I do think there is a youtube video of Clinton Anderson training a horse to lunge so that would be helpful to you to see the body position.

Also when I train a new horse and they refuse to move I wind up the line and make them turn in small circles. This gets their feet moving and if you have to put them slightly off balance so they have to turn. Gradually make the circle bigger and bigger.

Always use voice commands like walk, trot, whoa, reverse


aynelson 09-19-2009 01:37 PM

It is really impossible to give advice on lunging without seeing the situation. Your body position has a lot to do with it. I highly recommend the Monty Roberts site for advice - you can view videos and read articles. There are varying points on lunging - one being you need to have outside contact (side rein or long line) to help with proper bend. That, and having join-up established is key.

The stamping - I guess annoyance. Is she uncomfortable with something - is she out in her spine? Is the tack uncomfortable? Does she not feel good? I usually start there. Have you ever worn uncomfortable shoes or had your back hurt and HAD to do something that provoked it? It sucks. Some people tack up like they are in a whirlwind - I like to tack up and give my horse massages, scratch the itchy places, and stretch. I learn about where my horse hurts and it does wonders for the mood. They get sore muscles just like we do. Have you ever gotten a massage? All I have to do is see my massage therapist and my mood lifts. That is the response I want my horse to have with me.

Also, maybe she is just being cranky. My 3 yr old, Vertigo, can go through these mood things, where he would rather be in the pasture than learning how to be a riding horse. I can usually capture his attention with games I know he can't resist - carrot stretches are fun. This usually changes his mood. I also just have the belief that he can have a sour attitude, that is his choice, but he still must mind his manners and do what is expected of him. If he breaks the rules, I get after him. John Lyons says to "move their feet." If he steps into my space, I back him out of it - immediately. I use my big mean voice, body language, and energy. I get the "I am sorry" response from him, he submits, then I DROP IT. I don't hold a grudge and I move on to the next thing. If he stands quietly, I tell him, "thank you, good boy." Horses are "in the moment." We need to learn that as well.

If she is cranky that is fine, but if she is disrespecting your space, get after her, and move on to greener pastures. See Clinton Anderson or John Lyons resources for these training concepts. Monty Roberts also helps. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

xxBarry Godden 09-19-2009 02:10 PM

You don't mention whether you were using a lunging whip - 6ft long cane with a whip at the end.
A light touch with the whip makes them go forwards and keeps them from coming in. The knack is to use the noise
(the crack) and not to hurt the horse.

Eventually when the horse gets the idea - you can drop the whip and use the end of the lunge line.
Practice makes perfect - keep practising - its good for the horse.

cheply 09-19-2009 03:24 PM

I was using a whip.. not a lunging whip.. just a long dressage whip. I never touched her with it though... I feared she'd run me over.

She has been lunged before, I know that. She has had a year of training, so she probably knows more than I do.

I have a trainer at the barn, she's just away for the next two weeks... hence me being all alone to lunge. I am going to tell her asap about what happened though and get her help on fixing it.

Thanks for the sources I will take a look at those.

Hunter65 09-21-2009 11:25 AM

Try the Monty Roberts Join up Monty Roberts Join Up, Man Who Listens to Horses, Real Horse Whisperer, Books, Biography, Train, Demonstrations, Flag is Up.

It really does work. I was having issues with Hunter challenging me (turns and coming toward me). It may take a few times but it will really improve the relationship you have with your horse. I do it whenever I get a new horse.

G and K's Mom 09-21-2009 02:12 PM

I would leave this until your trainer is back from holidays. Loungeing is an art form, it's a lot more detailed than just doing circles.

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