Trouble lunging - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-14-2020, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Trouble lunging

Hi everyone! So I just recently just got an 8 yearold TB. He has been doing really well and learns quickly. About a week ago I started lunging him and he would take off but after practicing he started doing very nicely. After a couple of days I asked him for a trot which turned into a full rodeo but after a couple of days it was going good. Two days ago I had him trotting and it was going so smoothly after a couple of quick turns I stopped him and let him have a big break. After that though I cant seem to send him off. I have done it the same everytime where I point and kiss at him if needed. But now he moves his hindquarters and faces me. I immediately thought I was standing in the wrong place but still nothing. I wanted to give him a chance so I tried on the other side and the same thing happened. I have slapped the whip on the ground hoping that would give him some momentum but nothing. Everytime he would move his butt away I would make him move his shoulder and it ended up looking like he was lunging me. I do not have a round pen but I thought using the fence to block him from moving his hindquarters. Immediately was he passed the fence he moved his butt and faced me. I tried being quick enough so when he passed the fence and was about to turn in I would raise the whip but it did nothing. I would like to get him back into lunging as a workout for him before I ride him. Any ideas on what I am doing wrong?
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-14-2020, 01:07 PM
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So the horse stops, and turns and faces you? You need to be able to move his shoulder away from you. So instead of trying to direct energy towards his hind end, direct it towards his shoulder; and get his shoulder moving out onto the circle again (and the rest of him will follow).

When my mare stops and faces me on a lunge circle, it is usually when I have asked for it and will be changing directions. When I'm ready to send her out, I cluck at her and point my whip at her shoulder. She is pretty good on a lunge, so this is enough to send her out. But if she is being particularly stubborn, I will step towards her shoulder and use my energy to move her out. you might need to get a little dramatic about it with your guy.

But the key is to control the shoulder and move the shoulders, not the hind end.
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-14-2020, 02:04 PM
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your horse has learned how to make it all stop. for one thing, you said, 'after a couple of quick turns". what do you mean by quick turns? When I have a horse on a lunge line, I usually don't want quick turns. are you perhaps using this method to stop and then 'quick turn' your hrose:


you stop moving your own feet, you step sideways back toward his hind end, and you sort of bend over a bit and look at his hindquarter, point the whip at it, and mentally push it away from you ? Does he then whip it away from you, bringing his head to a facing you position?


What I think may be happening is that for him, you are 'attacking' his vulnerabel hind quarter area, and he wants to keep that as far away from you as possible. He has also learned that he can stop and rest when he is facing you.


So, yes, you have to get his shoulder away from you and back out on the circle. But, once you do, if you put pressure on his hindquarters, to make him go forward, he will just swing that away from you.



To make him go forward, once he is position on the circle, you 'lead' him forward with some forward encouragement on the lead line. if you must encourage foot movement, put the energy at his real driveline, righ where the girth would go, right behind hsi shoulder. AND, if you put on any kind of 'driving' pressure, you must also have that clear forward pull on the line, and drop the driving pressure the instant he moves forward.


get it going good, and then stop for the day. you can increase lenght of time later. jsut get good clear communication and obediance first.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-14-2020, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much for your replies! I probably have been asking him to move his end away from me without realizing it. I'm going to put more energy towards his shoulder and focus on what I'm telling him with my body.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-16-2020, 08:59 AM
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Our body language and focus can be saying entirely different things to our horse than what we *think* we are saying. If you have someone who knows what to look for who can watch you, that might be very helpful. Or, if you can video yourself and post it here, it would make it easier to get help. Verbal descriptions of what you or the horse is doing.....also verbal descriptions of helpful tips can get confusing. Lunging isn't easy! Horses are pros at turning the tables on us..LOL...To me these things are important: Focus-are you looking at the horse when sending him out? instead look where you want him to go.
Feel-are you putting a feel on the rope (as tinyliny described) for him to follow into the send ?
Timing- are you giving him a chance to move off from your focus and feel before adding whip/stick&string energy ?..just a few seconds to give him time to respond as you up the phases/cues might help him not be worried about the added pressure too soon
Balance/Energy-Can you bring your energy up and down? this is such a hard thing to learn and execute-but so important as horses read our energy and intent all the time. Find some videos,dvds, or a person to help if you think it will be helpful.

Do you follow or study anyone in particular? ie Cameron, Anderson, Parelli, Goodnight, Cox, etc.,etc ??

you say "as a workout for him before I ride him'. Do you literally mean that you use lunging to try to burn off some of his energy so he will be calmer? or do you mean to warm up his muscles, get him thinking, see how responsive he is, see if he's listening and being obedient? ....I doubt you COULD lunge him enough to actually tire him before tiring out yourself...he's a TB, they can go for a LONG time, and still be hot if they are generally a hot horse.

Good luck. Stay safe. Keep us updated on your progress.

Respect......rapport......impulsion......flexion.. .
Be as soft as possible, but as firm as necessary--Pat Parelli
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-16-2020, 09:22 AM
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Here's a video that might be helpful.


Fast forward to :30 for the actual lungeing/Circling demo

I've had lessons with John and he is absolutely amazing with horses and with students.

Respect......rapport......impulsion......flexion.. .
Be as soft as possible, but as firm as necessary--Pat Parelli
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-18-2020, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you mslady254! My TB does have a lot of energy lol but I am not using lunging as a way to tire him out. I do watch Anderson and Parelli so thank you for sharing the video!
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-24-2020, 06:27 PM
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Lunging to me, is a training exercise, to teach/reinforce a horse responding to you at a distance, with suggested(bodylanguage) 'pressure'. It's an extension of leading/driving a horse up close. So, when I have a prob with anything I'm doing, I'll back up to an 'easier' stage & ensure that's good, before moving forward again, perhaps more easily. So...

Firstly I teach/make sure the horse understands how to yield to direct(fingertip for eg) and indirect(pointed/bodylanguage) pressure in all ways - eg. does the horse understand to move shoulder/head away when asked? Hind end away? Can they go sideways? Stop or back up with 'pressure' out front? Move forward/go faster with pressure behind them?

Then I start leading/ground driving the horse & get them used to me directing them from different positions in relation to their body. Then I start doing it with just one lead, from gradually increasing distance. When it's a certain distance, and the horse is doing it while I stand still, I can call it 'lunging'.

So if I have a prob with 'lunging', I back up to whatever stage the horse was reliably understanding/doing what I asked.
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-24-2020, 10:30 PM
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watch where Danica's ears and focus is as she lunges. It's not ON the man, but on the outside of the circle
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-25-2020, 03:39 AM
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When you know a horse is going to turn and face me I am very quick to get behind it with the whip and drive it forward.

If it consistently tries this and does turn and face me, I will stand facing him. I will give the commands to move out, if nothing happens then I will start twirling the whip in a circle near his side, I will allow that whip to brush down his side again asking for movement. If nothing happens then I will use the whip hard down his side. This will cause him to jump out and then will get that whip behind him to keep him going forward,
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