Training to Lunge
I have a 12 y/o gelding that we have had since the middle of February. He has been kind and gentle. He is green broke but thus far has been very willing to learn. We have been for several rides and he has done well. He stands quietly for grooming, saddling, or just stand tied. He stands to be mounted. He is not aggressive with his food. He trailers well. He has not once offered to kick. He did grab my shirt sleeve with his lips once while I was leading him. He is nonaggressive out in the pasture with the other horses. He has had someone that has gotten after him on his hip with the reins while riding. Apparently he would do no more than walk while being ridden. I have been able to get him to successfully walk, trot, and canter under saddle. Well, today I decided that I would try to lunge him to help build some muscle, etc. Anyways, I had a feeling this would be entirely new to him and expected to have to deal with confusion getting him to move forward, maybe even trying to run out straight, etc. I was totally unprepared for what he did do. He was not afraid of the whip. As soon as I got him a bit away from me he turned, pinned his ears back and charged me. Needless to say this was frightening. I tried my best to hold my ground. The higher I raised my hands to get him to stop the higher his front feet came off the ground as though to rear and strike me. I got him settled down and tried again. Same result. He would stop when I put my hands on his shoulders but still ready to charge me again. I am not in a round pen, this is on the ground with a lunge line and a lunge whip. He would charge right up, teeth barred, small rears, ears pinned, very aggressive as a warning. He never did strike or bite. We did this several times. I got him to settle and worked him leading, walk and halt, back, turn, etc. Then I worked with him asking him to move from pressure, not much response on his poll, slow response on shoulder, and great response on hips. Then I got him to walk around me, very short lead, and the whip as a visual behind. He did okay but the further back I got on his shoulder the more his ears would go down. What I am looking for are some ideas of what to do. Thanks in advance.
Language of the Lunge | Horse Videos – Horse.com Video Library
Another member on here sent me a link to these videos a couple days ago. I haven't watched all of them, but the ones I've seen so far make a lot of sense and I now have new things to try when I lunge again. There are also a couple things I would personally do differently (like his way of getting to the shoulder of your horse to send them away. I just have to point with the whip in the direction I want for my mare because she knows what it means), but it's just simple things. Oh, another small disagreement: That horse is a black going gray, not blue roan. Haha.
Having a horse pin his ears and Charge you is a serious problem. If a horse is actually chargeing me in the round pen, then there is a real issue and this is dangerous to continue as it is.
It is odd that you said he charged close enough that you ended up putting your hand on his shoulder to move him off? I would have been swinging that lunge line or whip so powerfully and if he got close enough to me in that level of aggression, I would have laid it on his nose so hard that he would move off me pronto. then I would let him calm and then try to approach him, pet him and then work on some small things, like you said with having him lead or walk around you close . But watch carefully for the aggression level.
Charging you on the lungline is highly inappropriate behavior.
There is some real fear issue in that horse, and I doubt he would get that aggressive unless he felt that he had to save his own life.
So you think it was when you applied pressure further back on his hip that he became defensive?
@Poseidon - Thanks for the link to the videos! I will watch them today.
@tinyliny - I agree that it is very dangerous. The first time he charged he was about 15' away. He had been moving to the end of the line pretty well but I was in line with his shoulder. As I let him move more in front I was getting more in line with his hip he just pinned his ears and charged. The first time I did raise my hands and the whip did get him on his head, not hard. The higher my hands the more display he made. He charged all the way up and I put my hands on his shoulder to try and keep from getting run over. He could've done a lot more, but this was frightening enough. After he would charge, he would settle right down like nothing even happened. When I got him to walk around me, I was having to basically lead with the line, had the whip for visual in the back - which he was totally unconcerned with, and he would go but if I tried to give more line or try to get him to move more forward or if I tried to get closer to the hip, down the ears would go.
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