horse will NOT lunge clockwise
I have recently been working with a morgan (not mine, but I am riding him because no one else does and have taken on responsibility) that was originally trained to be a cart horse, although also to be ridden. He hasn't been ridden in quite a while (a year? more?) and is out of shape. He is also very herdbound, but some work with him has made that less of an issue. I am working on longing him, trying to assert my dominance, and have absolutely been unable to longe headed to my right (a clockwise circle). He longes beautifully in the other direction, even though I struggle to keep him cantering because he is so out of shape. However, when I ask him to turn, he panics. He would rather run into the whip, snapping right in front of his face, then turn to the right. I have walked around the circle with him (he does not like me leading him from his right) and on the ground, not longing, he is fine, but if I back away from him AT ALL and ask him to move right he panics. Any ideas?
Maybe do some desensitizing on this 'off' side of his, such as the leading him, even just touching him and rubbing him on that side until he's comfortable. When you ask him to lunge on the off side are you asking when he's cantering or when he's at a walk?
I'll have him halt after lunging counter-clockwise, then switch hands with the whip/line and ask him to move clockwise. Actually, I've done pretty much anything I can think of.
MAKE him go. Just be really consistent and don't waver. He'll get it.
I would start small, lead him in a few circles. Then send him out about 3 feet away from you then gradually let him out once he gains confidence. If you have to, pop him with the whip, and warn him with it when he gets too close.
He needs to be worked on both sides of his body, both for present physical condition and mental reasons.
Do you have access to a round pen?
chiropractor would be my first stop. or at least checking him out. my stally wouldnt lunge anti-clock wise until we took him to the chiro for something else then came home and he lunged that way no dramas.
not really sure if desensitising him would help in this instance. if he is in pain from something then that would explain the 'fear' of going that way.
if any back/neck/shoulder problems are ruled out it could be behavioural but ive never seen behaviour problems resulting in not wanting to lunge a certain way.
how is he under saddle? does he go both directions ok?
@Eliz - I really have been trying this, to the point that we both get frustrated and sweaty, but will continue...I just don't know whether it's technically "good form" to give up without success after, say 30 minutes - is that "giving in?"
@aforred - Technically, no. I have a circle mowed in a flat section of field. I have pondered the possibility of putting together a makeshift round pen, but my previous experience with him, when I was first riding him and struggling with how herdbound he was, is that he will panic and run into anything in his way - me, tree, fence, etc...so I'm worried about injury to him or me.
@jazzyrider - I struggle here because it is not technically my horse, also because neither me nor the owners have any real margin in our budget. I've bought the training supplies (longe line, bit for the other horse, etc) and other non-necessities, but am not sure about the plausibility of a chiro coming out. Under saddle, he is, well, interesting. I am not sure whether his anxiety is from herd-bound issues or something else, but he is good on basics. I have noticed bucking when I ask for a canter, but right now I can't recall whether that was with a right lead or a left lead. He seems to be an overly-anxious horse in general, which makes me worry about making his anxiety worse.
It stinks that he(we) is(are) struggling so much, because he is one of the sweetest horses, loves people and children and any attention he gets.
Hm. You may not be able to expect much progress even in a day... some horses you have to quit/reward at the slightest TRY. I would wonder about pain as well. Every horse seems to have an off-side, I wonder if he was only trained to lunge on that one side?
I am just trying to see what the cause would be. Like Jazzy said, if pain is ruled out, it's just lack of training/confidence. And if it were that, he should be getting it. Are you rewarding him at the slightest try, or nagging him a bit?
Why do you even need to lunge him?
I suppose that I'm longeing in an effort to build a relationship between the horse and I. Also, because I've struggled with herd-bound issues, to build trust, and establish dominance. Also, because there are two horses, they both desperately need exercise (especially him!) and I am a vet student that can usually only ride one when I'm out there. I try to longe the horse that I do not ride. I will try to post a video, as I will be at the farm tomorrow. Maybe it's something that I'm doing wrong.
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