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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't lunge (longe?) Jayne very often, mostly because when I got him he had no idea what it was and I barely have a better idea myself of how to teach it. I couldn't get him to canter at all on a line, only run all rushy and crazy, which I didn't think was good for him to practice, so I stopped asking for that for the most part. Just walk/trot from there unless we were in a round pen.

I had a chiro look and adjust him yesterday (pretty minor) and wanted to warm him up before riding in case he felt sore, funny or weird. He is much better at lunging circles now, though I couldn't say why, but when he was cantering he kept switching leads. Half a circle on the correct lead, 6 strides counter canter, back to the correct lead and so on. It was a good sized circle, so I thought maybe if I made it smaller, he'd stay correct, but he still kept switching back and forth going both directions. His front legs would just look like they were floating a second and then he'd be on the other lead. Not sure if they were 'correct' flying changes or not as I don't have a clear understanding of what that means beyond 'not trotting in between.'

I have no idea what switching like that means, and what, if anything, I should do about it. How do I communicate that I want him to stay on one lead? He switches under saddle at times too, but not nearly as often, and usually only TO the correct lead when he took the wrong one and I signal that I'm going to ask him back to a trot to try again. He's gotten much better at picking up the correct one from the start under saddle. From pretty much never-omg-run-rush-flail to most of the time, probably 80%+ correct including asking on the straight. Again, to his credit.

Help? I am very sure that this relates to our lack of correct circles under saddle as well, but I don't really understand how and in what ways, just that they have to be the same/related. We have been doing t/c transitions more, and he is getting more relaxed about it as well as more likely to pick it up properly when I ask, but I know so little beyond setting him up properly and not letting him rush into it, that it is hard for me to help him learn beyond doing a million transitions and hoping he figures out the easiest way himself.
 

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To me it souds like he's off balance. Im no expert on lunging and honestly i try to find ways to avoid it lol. But it is beneficial and i dont deprive my horse of that benefit.

To get the correct lead on a lunge, it is easiest to get the horse to circle in a lttle, then send him out on the lunge again and ask for the canter. This opens the shoulder, freeing it to easily take the correct lead. If he then switches, do the same thing; circle in and send out again, asking for the correct lead.

If he's young, he may just need more transitions to keep his brain occupied; one gait/one speed can get boring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
He always starts with the correct lead on the line, just switches after not too long. Should I stop him immediately when he switches, or ask him down to a trot? Try to stop him/ return to trot before he switches? Just do a million t/c transitions rather than letting him stay at a canter for more than a couple strides?

He's nearly 9 and focus is not the problem- he's paying attention very nicely when we're working. It's just he doesn't know he's supposed to stay on one lead and I don't know how to tell him that on a line. Under saddle I can and have corrected him in the sense of immediately asking him to switch back to the correct lead I had asked for, which is, I think, why he is more correct under saddle and not nearly so prone to switch like that...

ETA: I am sure that you are right that strength and balance play into it. Just not sure how best to improve those while not practicing doing it wrong. Practice makes permanent, after all.
 

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Does he do this more in one direction than the other?

If it were me, and since he's offering the lead change, i would simply
ask for the correct lead from the canter. But, if he cant circle in on the wrong lead, then go down to trot and ask for canter again. You will have to be precise with your timing, and expect immediate results, so if responsiveness is an issue, work on that first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
"Does he do this more in one direction than the other?" No, he does it both ways.

"I would simply ask for the correct lead from the canter." Okay, how do I do that? As I said, I know how under saddle, but I don't know how when he is on a lunge line (and consequently, haven't taught him that yet either).

"But, if he cant circle in on the wrong lead, then go down to trot and ask for canter again." What do you mean by "circle in"? Make the circle smaller and smaller, like spiral down? He can counter canter a fairly small circle I discovered, so asking him to make a smaller circle does not result in a lead change, just a smaller circle on whatever lead he happens to be on when I ask. Until he switches himself randomly anyway.

I can certainly ask him to go back to trotting immediately every time he switches, and he will do so, if you think that would be helpful. I am just not sure if that would accomplish a goal of him staying on the correct lead or teach him that if he wants to slow down and trot rather than working the canter, all he has to do is switch to the wrong lead.
 

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"Does he do this more in one direction than the other?" No, he does it both ways.

"I would simply ask for the correct lead from the canter." Okay, how do I do that? As I said, I know how under saddle, but I don't know how when he is on a lunge line (and consequently, haven't taught him that yet either).
Asking to change leads from the canter is essentially the same as asking for the correct lead from the trot.. explained below
"But, if he cant circle in on the wrong lead, then go down to trot and ask for canter again." What do you mean by "circle in"? Make the circle smaller and smaller, like spiral down? He can counter canter a fairly small circle I discovered, so asking him to make a smaller circle does not result in a lead change, just a smaller circle on whatever lead he happens to be on when I ask. Until he switches himself randomly anyway.
Yes, that is exactly what circle in means. When he is lunging on the 20m circle, or however large it is, ask him to circle in to maybe 15m. Once he's lunging on that slightly smaller 15m circle, send him back to the 20m. As he is going back out, his body will be in such a position, haunches slightly in, that asking for a canter will elicit the correct lead. Then he will simply canter on at the 20m circle.

So if he switches, you can still ask for the circle in at the canter, albiet at this point he will be on the wrong lead, and even this manuever might bring him to the correct one. Once he's cantering on the inner circle, send him out once again and ask for canter. A few repetitions of this, and he will begin to understand what you want.

I can certainly ask him to go back to trotting immediately every time he switches, and he will do so, if you think that would be helpful. I am just not sure if that would accomplish a goal of him staying on the correct lead or teach him that if he wants to slow down and trot rather than working the canter, all he has to do is switch to the wrong lead.
If you slow to the trot after he switches, immediately ask for the canter again. Take it slow. If he normally only canters on the correct lead for only ten steps, then ask him to take a few more steps on the correct lead, then walk a bit as a reward. Each time ask for a few more steps.
 
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