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Hello there! I'm a fairly new horse owner (it's been around 9 months now), and I was hoping I could get some advice. Please bear in mind that although I have ridden horses previously before owning one, I was not raised around horses, so all of my horse experience had been gained from a riding barn before I got my horse.
I own a 16 year-old Oldenburg gelding named Prince Charming. He is sweet when he's in a good mood, and when he's in a bad mood, he likes to bump things with his head... hard. Anywho, he was retired for a year before we purchased him because his previous owner went away to college. A friend of the family and also a huge horse-person has been assisting us with our new horse, and we board him at this friend's private stable. I have gained most of my horse ownership from this person, and he's helped me out a lot.
Naturally, Prince has no muscle from being a retiree for so long. He's also been acting up lately because his only stablemate went away for a show and we had to close off the field for a little while to grow grass (don't worry, he gets plenty of hay and some alfalfa pellets to help balance out his diet for now). He's been acting up a bit, so our friend suggested that I lounge Prince to get some of his energy out.
I was lounging this morning and got him to walk and trot, although it took some serious pushing to get him to trot, he doesn't listen very well when picking it up. Then I asked for a canter, which he gave me in much less time than he did the trot. He went around a few times and I had him slow down and walk to rest a bit. After a minute, I asked him to walk again and then trot, and finally asked for the canter again. He sped up, but before he actually began cantering, he half-bucked twice and then proceeded to trot very quickly. I asked again, he half-bucked and then picked up the canter for a beat of two before slowing to a trot.
Now, when he had been trotting before the canter, Prince would lower his head all the way down to the ground as if he were eating, though he didn't try to slow down and bite anything. He did not lower his head at all when he was walking or cantering, only at the trot. His ears were, for the most part, pricked forward the entire time, and he didn't seem to be favoring one leg over the others or anything of the sort. I had also cleaned his feet previously and did not feel any heat or swelling. That being said, I'm no expert, I could have missed something.
So two questions: 1) Was my horse lowering his head because he was hurting or hungry (he hadn't gotten breakfast yet, if that's of any importance) and 2) Was he bucking because something hurt or because he hadn't been in the field in a few days and was full of energy?
Thank you in advance for answering!
 

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Lowering of the head during lunging usually means the horse is submissive, ie: submitting or giving in/accepting to you as his alpha. Does he like or chew whIle doing this?
As for the bucking, he's just feeling frisky.
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So, he has no turn out now?
Far as ruling out any pain, not possible just by what you have written, as much can be due to poor work ethics, no turn out and no real expectations from you
If you are going to lunge a broke horse, it has to be for more than just burning off energy or as a substitute for turn out
Lunging has to be work, with that horse expected to go the same being lunged, as when ridden. That means the horse should be bitted up, and expected to go in frame at the gait asked for
Many horses, just allowed to do their own thing, do many of those things you posted him as doing, while lunged
Trotting along with ears forward, head to ground, tuning out the handler, is a common thing a 'green' horse will do, while being lunged, if not taught otheriwse
 

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Hi, welcome!

First thing first, does the horse get no turnout?? If you can't let him out into a paddock, pref with mates, to be a horse, get some regular exercise, you need to either take him out on lead, ride him or at very least, let him out into an arena or such, & encourage him to run around. Yes, people do use lUnging for exercise, but for a variety of reasons, I don't believe that's a good idea.

He's been acting up a bit,
How so? You need to give specifics.

some serious pushing to get him to trot, he doesn't listen very well
Assuming he has been taught to lunge, it sounds like he's testing you & you'd do well to find a trainer to help YOU learn how to be effective & assertive with him. One reason I don't like lunging for exercise is that it can 'turn a horse off' to listening. If he's not 'listening' well in the first place, not much chance of it improving just running him round. I like to use 'lunging' to enhance training.

he half-bucked twice and then proceeded to trot very quickly. I asked again, he half-bucked and then picked up the canter for a beat of two before slowing to a trot.
He's just telling you what he thinks of what you're asking, and also too full of beans. Lowering his head like that sounds like it's a bit of a submissive sign, people who do 'join up' like to see this & take it as a signal to stop pushing the horse & allow them to come in. Perhaps someone's taught him that, so when he did that & you kept pushing, he felt the need to tell you what he thought of it. No worries, if you want him to learn differently. You've just got to consistently show him the 'old moves' don't work any more with you.
 

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his stance is more likely an expression of attitude than of pain. he wants it to be over with. the canter on a circle is hard work.

make sure the circle is as large as possible (and still maintain control), and that he has a good walk warm up, especially if you are doing this right out of the stall.

I would not worry about a buck or a little bit of attitude. I'd ignore it, and just keep insisting he give you the speed/gait you are asking for.
 
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