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dawnhoadley 09-29-2011 12:00 PM

Training with out a round pen is it possible?
I have a three year old arabian mare. I am teachin to lunge, very basic walk and trot, voice commands ect. She will not lunge to the left. I dont have a round pen yet and when I try to turn her and go the other direction she backs up like crazy making it impossible to get her to go to the left. It's annoying!
You can't force a 1200 lb animal to do any thing so I realize this is a mind game! She has very little training and only have lunged her three times. I did not want to keep lunging with only going one direction.
Help I'm stumped. Any Ideas are appreciated.

Cherie 09-29-2011 12:12 PM

Round pens are not necessary to train a horse.

Round pens are for people and not for horses.

There is nothing you need a round pen for. Generally speaking, the more knowledgeable and able bodied the horseman is, they less he/she depends on a round pen. I did not even have one for the first 25 or 30 years that I trained horses full-time. I would not be able to do much without one now because I am pretty crippled by degenerative joint disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have one for ME.

nuisance 09-29-2011 12:32 PM

My 4 yr old QH is the same way, but opposite ways, she does wonderfull to the left, goes crazy to the right.... I really need to spend more time doing ground work, but life keeps getting in the way. When I first got her, after some ground work, and started riding her, she turns wonderfully to the left, but would not turn to the right, she would panic if I even brought my hand up to the right, she's over that part now, but I'm sure it came from the previous owner where she was abused.
Good luck!

mls 09-29-2011 12:37 PM


Originally Posted by dawnhoadley (Post 1187010)
I have a three year old arabian mare.

You can't force a 1200 lb animal to do any thing so I realize this is a mind game!

You have a 1200 pound 3 year old Arabain mare? Wow.

candandy49 09-29-2011 12:45 PM

I agree most whole heartedly that a roundpen is not required for teaching a horse the verbal and body language training on the circle in-hand of a lunge line in an open space without the barriers of a fenced round pen. I can testify to this with my own experience of my horse. I did eventually get a 60ft round pen, but not after I spent many hours of lunging with only a lunge line and an open space with no barriers.

dawnhoadley 09-29-2011 12:45 PM

That was more of a exaggeration on the weight! All I know is that she is a large strong animal that your not going to force to do anything!
I have no idea what she weighs :)

churumbeque 09-29-2011 01:17 PM

You need to keep backing up with her and push her from behind. Do not send her until you are at her hip. Keep your left arm pointing her in teh direction and use the lunge whip to push her that direction. If you are in front she won't go forward. This should just take a few times and you should be able to work through it.

gypsygirl 09-29-2011 01:19 PM

when my mare had trouble lunging to one direction, i would lunge her w/t/c on her good side, then lead her from the bad side. when i was walking her i would keep walking, but turn to face her so she was 'lunging' just in a very small circle, after a few rounds giving her more and more rope. just keep the circle small and slow until she gets the hang of it.

verona1016 09-29-2011 02:34 PM

Make sure you re-evaluate what you're doing- are you standing too far forward and "blocking" the horse's forward motion?

We have a dominant side as well, and though you might lunge properly from one side, you might unknowingly be giving confusing signals going the other way. It's doubly hard to get the correct response if your weaker side is also your horse's weaker side.

Fancy14 09-29-2011 03:15 PM

You definitely don't need a round pen. I actually find them somewhat restrictive, unless I'm doing liberty work--in which case you need at least some kind of fencing. :D

I ran into a problem getting my horse to circle to the right this year. I don't work on a lunge line, just a 12-foot lead (on occasion, a 22-ft). Her right side has always been her tougher side, but late this summer, she started backing and turning when I asked her to circle to the right. There were a few issues at play, but most importantly, we determined that she'd developed a mental block with going to the right because that's the side her saddle had started pinching on. She began to associate going to the right with pain in her shoulder. (I have since bought her a new saddle that fits perfectly, and we will likely have to spend some time working some bad habits out. Unfortunately, I live 6 hours away from my horse so probably won't see her again for a few weeks!)

Anyway, I have managed to get her circling to the right again with more ease, though there is still some work to do. Here's what we did:

1. To the left, I simply have to stand parallel with her at the drive line, and then just send her on with my body language--pointing with my left arm, and looking where I want her to go, not at her.

2. When I wanted her to go to the right, it was a struggle just for me to get to her right side. She wanted to back and turn so I couldn't get to that side at all.

3. I worked at putting her to work whenever she wouldn't stand for me to go to her right side. When I could finally stand in close to the drive line on her right side, I would allow her to rest, and rubbed her everywhere to put her at ease.

4. When I could get to the right side without a battle, and could stand in close while she relaxed, we started to work on forward motion. I would send her out with my right arm (pointing the direction I wanted her to go), just like when we circle to the left, BUT...I would stay RIGHT beside her, touching her body at the drive line, and walk forward with her, in an arc. This kept me close enough that she couldn't back away from me or turn--I could go with her wherever she went--and helped her understand what I was asking--I wanted forward motion.

5. Each time I did this, the forward motion became easier, until I could step back from her, and begin to circle her from more of a distance. If she would revert to wanting to back and turn, I'd go back to walking in close beside her until we worked it out again.

6. When I could get her circling at a distance, I started *small.* If she gave me even a quarter of a good circle with forward motion, to the right, on an arc, I'd ask her in and let her rest. I'd then work on increasing the circle size.

When I last saw her, we'd progressed to where I could ask her for a right circle from a few feet away from her, saddled or unsaddled, and she would respond without problem. When I see her again in a few weeks (at the time I'd been home for 3 weeks and had been working with her regularly), I'll likely start in close to her, so we can start on a positive note, and work the distance out quickly if she's responding well.

Patience, and quality will get you everywhere. Good luck!

P.S. It's also a very good idea to get your horse checked by a chiropractor and/or massage therapist. It's not impossible that there's some physical discomfort influencing your horse's behavior as well.

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