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View Full Version : At my wits end!!! Horse pulling on the lunge



JumpingForJoy
Aug. 1, 2009, 11:17 PM
So a neighbor has offered me to use his 12 y.o. gelding for free with the option of owning him if everything works out. I am really starting from ground zero here... He has mainly been a pasture pet due to time constraints on the owner's part. But what little riding this horse has been taught, he was actually taught to move into pressure rather than away from pressure. So needless to say, his ground manners were extremely lacking but we're finally at a point where he is starting to move away from pressure.

Now, we're moving on to the lunge line... He is now walking and trotting fine. Canter is a different story. I don't have a round pen so I am stuck trying to use the corners of an arena to keep him in. Problem is when he gets to the open side, he just runs out. I can't keep him in a circle without crouching down low and leaning back real hard. Sometimes he pulls so hard that there is no option but to let go or I will get dragged.

I just called it a night and went back to walk/trot work on the lunge line because I don't want him to learn a new "trick" that will get him out of work.

Any way I can get him to listen to me at the canter without pulling?

jetsmom
Aug. 1, 2009, 11:23 PM
What are you longeing him in, tack wise? cavesson? Bridle? side reins? Chain over nose? Halter?

JumpingForJoy
Aug. 1, 2009, 11:35 PM
Just a halter... which I realize is probably a *lot* of my problem but I am not sure what I can use that will give me control of his head.

I have been riding him too (walk and trot only) and he is very strong in the snaffle bit so I don't know what I should be considering that will give him respect but not be too severe.

I have been spoiled - my own horse I ride in a simple jumping hackamore because that is the only thing she will accept (and she doesn't have dental issues) - so this is a new world for me.

Brooke
Aug. 1, 2009, 11:55 PM
Side reins and a chain over the nose for a little bit will work wonders.

RyGirl
Aug. 2, 2009, 12:29 AM
What exactly does he do when he runs out? Does he shoot off sideways half-pass style or does he physically turn away from you and canter straight?

My horse did the second one for a long time. I found that lunging him in a bridle with a chain at the end of the lunge line helped quite a bit. I would pass the chain through the bit on one side, over the top of his head and clip to the other side of the bit. I also found if I watched closely enough, I could tell when he was about to turn away, and if I could yank his head back in at that point, I'd keep control. If you have to keep lunging him a halter, I'd try to use the chain as a lip chain or at the very least put it over his nose. Using the corners of the ring, as you said you have been, also helped me a lot.

I personally would not use side reins until you can keep him in the circle. I have seen a few get scared in them when they tried to run out of the circle, even when the side reins are loose, and flip or fall down. That may teach him, but it sounds like he's technically not your horse, so I probably wouldn't go that route.

boston's mom
Aug. 2, 2009, 12:29 AM
My young mare is a bit of a pig on the longe line (she is big and she knows it). My trainer had me run the line through her bit and clip it to her girth. When she took off like a rocket (fun is:eek:) she practically folded herself in half. She learned after about 2 sessions that she was only pulling on herself. She has been much better since I used this little tactic!

Good luck.

LegalEagle
Aug. 2, 2009, 12:31 AM
How short is your line? If he's been a pasture pet he may be too unbalanced on a small circle and might be pulling on you to help keep himself up. Have no idea if this is the case but it might be a thought!

JumpingForJoy
Aug. 2, 2009, 01:25 AM
RyGirl - When he runs out, he sticks his head up and runs sideways, pulling me along as he forces the "circle" to get wider and wider. I have tried anticipating his move on his part but I don't have that much leverage right now to counteract him.

LegalEagle - It's a good thought and something that crossed my mind as well. I have a standard lunge line but problem is he won't canter unless I pull him in close to flick him with the lunge whip. As soon as he does the canter depart, I increase the length of the lunge line, so I would think he should have enough room (?).

Some good ideas here... I think I'll be trying the chain idea! Any other ideas, keep them coming please!

Go Fish
Aug. 2, 2009, 01:44 AM
Breeding hackamore...

2DaPoint
Aug. 2, 2009, 01:53 AM
Def try a chain. Either over the nose or under the chin.
In a bridle you can run it through the bit on the inside, over the poll and attach it to the other side ring. This creates a "gag" effect and usually stops just about any kind of pulling behavior. (Have also seen the technique described by previous poster-- run through the inside bit ring and then to the girth... it works.)
Using side reins will also REALLY help keep his body in line and allow the longe line to do the steering it is supposed to be doing. Goes a long way to getting him better for you to ride him, too. They don't have to be so tight that he gets "scared" of them, either. Just snug enough on both sides to keep his neck and body bent properly for the size circle he's supposed to be on.... and deterring him from any massive deviations that may involve "Arena Skiing"!

Ambrey
Aug. 2, 2009, 02:02 AM
Longe in a bridle with a simple snaffle. Loop the longe line through the inside ring, over the poll, and clip to outside ring.

CoolMeadows
Aug. 2, 2009, 02:11 AM
So a neighbor has offered me to use his 12 y.o. gelding for free with the option of owning him if everything works out. I am really starting from ground zero here... He has mainly been a pasture pet due to time constraints on the owner's part. But what little riding this horse has been taught, he was actually taught to move into pressure rather than away from pressure. So needless to say, his ground manners were extremely lacking but we're finally at a point where he is starting to move away from pressure.

Now, we're moving on to the lunge line... He is now walking and trotting fine. Canter is a different story. I don't have a round pen so I am stuck trying to use the corners of an arena to keep him in. Problem is when he gets to the open side, he just runs out. I can't keep him in a circle without crouching down low and leaning back real hard. Sometimes he pulls so hard that there is no option but to let go or I will get dragged.

I just called it a night and went back to walk/trot work on the lunge line because I don't want him to learn a new "trick" that will get him out of work.

Any way I can get him to listen to me at the canter without pulling?

Please don't assume he was taught to move into pressure. It's important to realize that by nature, horses are interpressure animals... they will, by their nature, move into pressure rather than away. Your horse sounds very simply green and somewhat unbalanced.

He is ok at the walk and trot and that is fantastic! Most of what you will need to teach him re: respect, rhythm, balance, voice command, etc.. will be taught at those two gaits.

It's important to keep in mind that a green horse at the canter on the lunge will very likely show extreme unbalance and the result of that is more often than not taking off. A 20m circle is a very difficult feat for a green bean or field horse, regardless of the age.

I will admit that I do not lunge at the canter with any green horse due to the mental and physical stress. At the trot, if you can achieve a relaxed and stretchy status, you are doing wonderfully! If under saddle, you can achieve one or two straight-aways at an easy canter for your first few attempts, you are way ahead of the game.

Just remember that cantering in a small area, or carrying a rider is either a new or long lost situation for this horse and his reactions to the change in balance are perfectly normal. Give it time. The slower you go, the faster you will get there.

JumpingForJoy
Aug. 2, 2009, 02:32 AM
CoolMeadows - Thanks for the advice. I will try to take it slow with him since I know I am really turning his world upside down in some many ways! :)

And I should have been more specific... His owner told me specifically he trained him to move into pressure so I don't need to assume - I know! ;) So under saddle everything is backwards for him. He really is doing well overall considering (his owner is surprised by his progress) but this canter thing has just thrown a little curveball into this mix!

I really want to do what is best for him. But on the other hand I also want to make sure that he isn't learning any "tricks" that will make it so he can avoid work! That's why I thought I'd ask the pros on here for ideas/help!

CoolMeadows
Aug. 2, 2009, 02:40 AM
Well that is annoying that the interpressure instincts were reinforced but none of this is over the top! Really, if you have overcome that part then overcoming the natural inclination to bolt at the canter on the lunge will be a breeze! An unbalanced horse on a 20m circle at the canter will by nature bolt so if you possibly can avoid it and work on the positives on the lunge in other gaits and nail down rhythm, suppleness, and obedience, go for it. If you absolutely can't or if he's learned some bad habits and bolts out of random gaits, try looping the line over his poll but be very careful if you put it through a bit loop and make sure you're confident that no accidents will occur so his mouth doesn't get torn. I have had many, many lovely youngsters who I worked only at the walk/trot on the lunge before starting under saddle who turned in to world beaters (to me anyway!)... you have plenty to work with ;)

classicsporthorses
Aug. 2, 2009, 06:51 AM
I have a "Y" attachment for my lunge, hooks onto either side of the halter, hence you have control of the head. It's far less harsh then a chain, yanking on the bit or otherwise.

I can lunge an errant 17 hand belgian and keep that horse under control-at the canter, so I know it will work for a 12 hand pony.

I would guess as was said that he's unbalanced. Also, don't immediately let that lunge out. If you have him in a good circle ask for the canter and get one complete circle, in a closer circle to you then let the lunge out a bit.

If you have a horse/pony who is doing this then you too have to be on your toes to make the pony move forward. This means to move your feet to get behind his shoulder to put the pressure (and use voice command too, which I hope you are teaching), to go forward.

I think working at the trot and transition work on the lunge will get him more balanced.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Aug. 3, 2009, 07:51 AM
Skipping the canter on the longe right now might be the safest option, but to toss 2 other ideas into the hat -
sometimes even just laying poles on the ground on the open side of the circle gives enough boundary or explanation to keep the horse on the circle

one young horse I started (who has grown up to be quite lovely) did not *get* longeing to the right at first. Usually I have babies longeing nicely both directions before I get on the first time. In his case I started riding him sooner, and once I got him where he could circle both directions with me on him, I would end the ride circling right, then dismount and longe him to the right on the same circle. Now if I want to longe and ride him in the same session, we can do it in the traditional order, and he understands. :)

Einstein
Aug. 3, 2009, 07:57 AM
Chain over the nose, it will teach him not to pull you all over the ring.:cool:

Sing Mia Song
Aug. 3, 2009, 08:14 AM
I have one that was a runaway on the longe line. Halter, bridle, caveson, didn't matter. Two things cured him: chain over the nose (but I hate that because it doesn't necessarily "give" very well once the horse responds) and a Clinton Anderson rope halter--the kind with the knots in the nylon. My trainer swore up and down that it would work, and after I got over rolling my eyes at "natural horsemanship crap" and tried it, I discovered she was right.

Meliora
Aug. 3, 2009, 09:04 AM
Lunging can be dangerous if not done correctly fro both horse and handler. I had two broken fingers on my right hand, and I was lunging correctly at the time.
1) Please lunge with loose side reins (do not attach them until you are in the ring ready to lunge.)
2) Use a bridle with a loose ring snaffle (if possible) and run the line through the bit and over the head. This should give you the most control.
3) Use your judgement here, but maybe wait to canter (as others have posted). A few weeks may be needed at the walk and trot (with side reins using himself properly), before he is strong enough to canter.
4) Please don't let this bolting continue. If he gets loose from you, and the line gets tangled in his legs, you could wind up with a broken leg or other terrible injury to your horse (and don't forget about broken fingers too)

This may just happen with the line. If he was taught to move away from pressure you can use you hand and gently push on his side where your leg would be if you were riding, and see if he moves over. This might take a couple of small pushes with your hand. If he moves over, then he has some proper education. If not, at least you know that before you ride him. Good Luck!

LH
Aug. 3, 2009, 10:07 AM
You are reinforcing these bad habits and must take action to prevent this. This horse is untrained and/or disobedient, and this is very dangerous on the lunge line!

As other posters said, you should lunge him in a bridle with a chain over the crown or over the nose -- whichever gives you more leverage -- attached to the bit on the other side, and side reins (attached to bit and either a girth billet or lunging surcingle). Start with the side reins pretty loose, and then shorten slowly (over a period of weeks) as horse gets stronger and more comfortable. The inside side rein should be a hole or two shorter than outside one.

Wear gloves and carry a lunge whip - I hope you know how to use it properly. Start with walk trot transitions until you KNOW you have the horse listening to you. Ask for extended trot then slow trot. Lots of transitions between walk and trot and within those gaits. Move the circle around the ring, making it bigger and smaller, always insisting that the horse focus on you. You will need the lunge whip at the haunch for this exercise, but it's a good one!

When you have the horse's attention at walk/trot, then ask for canter for a few strides ONLY - then go back to the trot. Do that repeatedly to reinforce that the horse is to canter on your voice instruction, and then back to trot so that he is listening TO YOU.

Slowly allow the horse to canter a few more strides on the circle - but only if it is under control. If he takes off, then back to trot and walk. If all is well, then allow the horse to canter, but do something to actively maintain his attention on YOU - keep a "feel" of the lunge line with the bit so that the horse does not think he is a "loose horse" and able to take off. When you do more canter, think about making the circle a little smaller so that the horse has to bend on the circle.

If you establish this relationship and this exercise as part of work - and not just "turn out on the lunge line" -- you should end up with a horse that is stronger all over, and more obedient to you as the rider.

My one caution is that lunging is pretty tough on a horse physically since they are going in a circle one direction. Keep your sessions planned to be short - no more than 15 minutes at a time, and think about changing direction several times during the session.

LuvMyTB
Aug. 3, 2009, 02:47 PM
Try a chain in one of the various configurations suggested....but PLEASE don't use a lip chain, as one poster mentioned. You can really do a number on a horse's mouth with a lip chain if it's not used properly. This technique is not meant to be used on a lunge......

equitationlane
Aug. 3, 2009, 03:11 PM
I haven't read all of the replies, but after having a torn rotator cuff repaired, I will only use my "iron" halter. I just looked it up and it is a Mickmar training halter. The key to not having them pull you around it to put the attaching circle on the nose, not underneath. It sort of acts like a bull ring and I absolutely guarantee that if you give them one good jerk if they even think of pulling you around, you will have their attention and they won't touch the longe line at all!

kookicat
Aug. 3, 2009, 03:56 PM
Why do you need the horse to canter on the lunge now? How long have you been working with him? (Sorry, might've missed it if you said.)

I would back off the cantering, and work on getting him really listening to you in walk and trot. It will also help build his strength.

Einstein
Aug. 3, 2009, 04:01 PM
Try a chain in one of the various configurations suggested....but PLEASE don't use a lip chain, as one poster mentioned. You can really do a number on a horse's mouth with a lip chain if it's not used properly. This technique is not meant to be used on a lunge......

I agree, never use it under the lips or through the mouth.
I've seen terrible damage done, when used improperly.

BuddyRoo
Aug. 3, 2009, 04:03 PM
I'm going to ditto longing in a bridle and running your line through the inside O, up over the poll and connecting to the outside O ring. Also, side reins. You don't have to put them on tightly, but you can have just a bit of bend to the inside.

Now of course, this means that when you change directions, you have to change the setup around. But I find that it works much better and the horse is more prone to "working" properly as opposed to playing and yanking your butt around the ring.

I've never had a roundpen--shoot, most of my life I've not had an arena of any sort. They can figure it out if you are using the appropriate equipment.

Good luck!