Hey there!!! My aunt is asking for my help with her new 18 hand horse she got that is green. He hasnt had much work done with him at all and when it comes time to get down to work he runs away like the typical male. i have some ideas on what to do to get him used to work and other things but was curious if there were any suggestions as to what might help him not run away from us. (we lunge him in a bridle and bit, but we arent sure if we have found the right bit for him yet)
8 tb/draft cross she just wants him to be safe and be able to ride around. i have no problem doing that, i know how to do that, i just dont want to have raw hands from working with him on the lunge line because he just drags us everywhere
Do you have access to a round pen? A nice, large one with good footing would be my recommendation. I wouldn't recommend any type of gadget without an experienced trainer on hand to help out. As for bits, I've had good success with a waterford. Not too harsh, but breaks up in the mouth in a way that it's hard for them to grab the bit and run.
I'm with alabama. 100% My mare was a fruitloop until I figured out how to lunge her properly.
You aren't going to be able to stop a train that big, if he really wants to go. A round pen with real walls will be your friend. Have you had his teeth looked at? I've found it cures many naughty horse problems when the problems relate to bolt, bit grabbing, head tossing, and evading. Try a 3 piece, that's the only thing Herself will let in her delicate mouth. *eyeroll* I use a loose ring french link.
Also. When he bolts, don't try to drag him around in a circle right away. Put constant pressure on his mouth and he'll just put his fingers (er.. hooves) in his ears in a "LALALALA I can't hear you!!!" fashion. Short, sharp tugs *upward* can be helpful as an on the ground e-break.
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Have your aunt act as assistant and walk at his head to begin with. Work him in a small area even if you don't have a round pen. Walk only for the first couple of lessons if that's all he will stay calm at. If he's green I would not attach the line to his bit. Either use a longeing cavesson or a converter (basically a strap with two buckles for the halter and a loop to clip the line to) attached to his halter. Wear gloves and educate yourself on longeing body language and use of the whip.
Longeing can be an art form or just holding on while the horse runs in circles.
"I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted". - Anonymous
I second a stud chain, GLOVES, and a waterford bit. I love it. And lots of ground work. He's not going to respect you lungeing, or under saddle, if he doesn't respect your presence and authority leading him around. Do different excercises with him; teach him to back up, teach him to yield his front and back end from pressure, teach him to drop his head with poll pressure, teach him to turn (while leading) just with your body turing into him; shouldn't have to pull on the lead rope to turn or stop.
My gelding (although small) would do the same thing...be going along perfectly fine, then the little @!)$#*! woudl just throw his shoulder out, and go. Gloves didn't even help me hold on.
THe solution was to lunge with the stud chain over his nose, and only give him as much lunge as he would use to behave himself. Too much line = too much leverage for him to use against you. I would slowly work out the line at each sesson. When the line is shorter, and he tries to bolt, you have a much better chance at snapping that line and getting his attention wtih teh stud chain over his nose.
We went through this for a while, but now my guy lunges respectfully, without a chain.
When they get away with it, it encourages them even more the next time!
"If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."
I've known several drafts who use some form of escaping when they feel pressured or they don't understand or you know, they've just figured out they're very large and you can't really do much to stop them if they decide they're gone.
I would probably back off from lunging directly (because it's true, if you can't hold him back if he decides he's going and you don't want to turn it into a physical fight, with more gadgets/stronger bit, or otherwise). I'd go back down to lots of respect on the ground exercises. Use a rope halter or something if you want, do it in the round pen so there's not much distraction. Practice leading and having him stop when you stop. Have him back up with barely touching his face. Have him move his hindquarters away from you when you say so. Have him trot when you jog, stop again when you stop. Really get him tuned in to you.
Then go back to the round pen for lunging but again, make it so he's not just going around and around in circles but listening to you. Make sure he understands what you actually want out of him...has he ever really been lunged before? I might even do it with just a lunge whip and no line so I'm not fighting his face if he takes off.
And if he does decide to say 'eff you lady I'm running', keep him moving until he's tired of running. Don't chase after him, just keep him moving, he slows down, flick the whip. And when you're finally ready to let him take a rest and he's beyond ready, then tell him easy and let him walk. But make it be your idea.
Another thing to keep in mind on the ground is I've known several drafty types who've figured out the idea that if they bend their head away from you while walking, they can leverage the lead rope against their shoulder and take it away from you and go off where ever they please and you've got no leverage to stop them. So don't give him the chance to even get that far.
Honestly, unless there's something else that you didn't say here, I'm not sure why you're lunging him anyway since presumably he's already used to how the tack feels. But if he is running off I expect it's either to get out of work (hence making him keep moving so it's still work and not funtime) or he doesn't actually understand (hence backing off to in-hand work and moving back up again).
But the basic thing is you don't want to make this into a physical fight between you and the horse because if you let it get that far, the horse will win. It's simple physics.