I've got a mare that lunges really well on her stiff side but seems to try to run through her outside shoulder on her hollow side at the canter. She's the same way under saddle, I have to use lots of outside leg and outside rein to keep her body curved but not too curved. If she gets over bent she runs through the outside shoulder. Not an uncommon problem I know but I'm wondering what I can do about it when lunging. I'm quite pleased that I can push out her hind quarters on her stiff side and get a beautiful canter. On the hollow side at the canter she just tries to make the circle bigger, I pull and release on the lunge line trying to maintain a bit of slack so we don't have a tug of war but its not working.
When lunging I use a caveson with side reins attached to the saddle, where the billets are. I know I can just work on this issue under saddle but I'm wondering what tools I have in a lunging situation to act as outside aids. The arena I work in is fenced so I can use the fence line but I want to be able to lunge her as nicely as I can on in the other direction. Her downward transitions are good too so I'm pretty sure its not behavioral but rather a balance or fitness issue. Any tips?
If the side reins are adjusted short enough, they should give your mare's shoulder a proper boundary on the lunge. Then there's the double lunge also, but I personally have not mastered that, so will wait for other to chime in on that.
Under saddle, counterflex for a few strides. That puts the shoulder back where it belongs.
"Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht
Thanks for that. I'm a bit cautious with the side reins and don't want them too short so perhaps I have them slightly too long. They are also the kind with elastic rather than the donut, so they have more give. Is it possible to describe exactly the length side reins should be adjusted over the internet?
When I am lunging I start with the reins where I think they should be, then as I am lunging, if I need to accomplish something andthey aren't working, I will stop and shorten them and try again. SometimesI will have to adjust two or three times to find the setting that works for what I am trying to accomplish with that particular horse.
fwiw, I feel your frustration, my new boy does EXACTLY the same thing. For me it is tracking left he falls out over the right shoulder, tracking right he wantsto fall in. The flex, counterflex, flex exercise under saddle is great advice.
You can ask with the longe rein at the moment when the front leg on the inside is stepping off the ground, ask and give until the horse steps in with the front leg instead of just bending the neck.Be sure to release very clearly when the horse steps in with the front leg, constant pressure dulls the horses response to the aids, so be sure to reward with a clear release the behavior you want