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What to do about naughty horse on longe line?

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  • #21
    My horse always bucks -several huge bucks- in canter to the right on the lunge. So if she's particularly hot, we go left first. I can keep her in trot until she has settled, then we canter, then we go the other way. She still bucks hard (the MT thinks she self adjusts), but if we start to the right on a hyper day, the bucking gets her all excited, then she's blasting and blowing and tail over the back, etc. Have you noticed if your horse has 1 direction that he's less likely to get excited? If so, just go that way first. I also never put the saddle or bridle on to lunge on those days. I know she's going to play, even if it's just a few strides before she's back under control, she isn't allowed to play tacked up, so I just eliminate the problem. Sometimes, like with kids, you just have to set yourself up for the best scenario. As to getting hurt, it's a tough call. Make sure he's booted for the obvious stuff, but I don't think there is much else you could do. What about giving him a little push to play in his pen before you bring him in? Not chasing him all over with the whip, but maybe just crack it once and let him take a lap?
    Don't toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!


    • #22
      Why no chain?


      • #23
        Originally posted by Hampton Bay View Post
        If he were mine, and if he weren't also trying this trick under saddle, I would likely just let him do it, and then when he was ready to be done, keep sending him forward and making him work. Bring him in on your circle, send him out, work on transitions, just make him work. Once he is mentally settled and listening to you, put him up.

        With *most* horses, usually the best fix is to ignore the behavior, then make them work after they stop being annoying.
        I do the same thing (ignore it) - my mare doesn't act badly on the lunge often but when she does I just send her forward (if she acts badly it's normally bucks and leaps into the air which she does NOT do under saddle).
        Now in Kentucky


        • #24
          Chains on a longe line are a very VERY BAD idea and I never ever use them. Lead line okay...longe line never. I will point out that I also never ever longe with a halter. Proper equipment always every time. Use either a well fitting longe cavesson (a chain would flop around too much on those and be too heavy on the face), or a bridle and there is no way I'd want that chain acting on the poll or under the chin. (I always thread the line through the bit, over the head, and attach to the bit on the other side)

          I also agree with JB's post. Cavorting about on the line or under saddle is not allowed. Period. Of course it may happen but needs to be stopped ASAP.

          If he's feeling so good that he can't even longe then turn him loose in the arena for a few minutes and let him run and buck and fart around and get it out that way. (I know he's out for 12 hours a day but it is winter and the footing and conditions may not be the greatest in turn out areas.) THEN, I'd bring him in, tack up, and longe prior to riding.

          Somene asked about not being able to stop a horse from running away on the line. If you have access to a round pen than they have nowhere to go. In an arena, well it sometimes happens. Don't kill yourself trying to hang on (and I hope you latched the arena gate prior to longeing ) but catch the horse and start over being very watchful for the moment he may try to bolt again. The best way to stop it is to prevent it from happening in the first place. However, it happens so don't beat yourself up about it. Just pick up and keep going.


          • #25
            We have a 'Y" yoke attachment that one puts on the end of the lunge line and it then clips to either side of the horse (either their halter or headstall). I am never without it on my lunge line. This way you have control of the head.

            I too could stop a moving freight train with one good yank. ALL of the horses know the "walk on" command. This is always what we do first.

            I may let a horse do one or two bucks but if they start to be stupid they are turned square to me told to quit and we start at walk again. If they try it again, then I actually "say". 'So you want to canter, let's canter' and I push them. When it is not their idea you would be surprised just how quickly they come back to earth. The key is a shorter lunge line and the millisecond you feel them start to want to break gait you push them for one or two more times around. I think ask for a "trot on" then an "easy Trot" then walk. Trust me this works and does not take long at all. I teach a lot of horses to lunge and reteach many to lunge appropriately.

            I work with horses who are 18 hands and weigh 1800 or more pounds to green been 2 year old stud colts who are full of themselves and it works for each and everyone of them.


            • #26
              You have to do what works for you. Personally, I HATE a horse that takes off on the lounge bucking and playing. My horse must start at a walk. I don't care how fresh he is. You would not let a horse bolt the second you sat in the tack. I think it is the same principal (especially if he already has plenty of turn out). Throwing out a buck here and there on the lounge is one thing......running all out and completely disregarding the handler is another. JMHO. I agree with ideayoda. I would pull him around and stop him each time he took off. It may take awhile but he will get the picture.


              • #27
                My 4 year old filly also tries to play naughty on the lunge line...

                Because of her past actions, we now lunge her with that "Y" attachment and side reins. We start her off on a small circle and ALWAYS keep a slight shoulder fore within the circle.
                One we lose the nose and the shoulders, she starts goofing off.

                A few minutes of small circle work at the walk and then some trot work with me following her into a bigger circle without giving her the lunge line - she knows that it's time to work.
                Then slowly, I give her more and more lunge as I start standing in the middle of the circle instead of following her. Don't be afraid to tell your horse if he's doing well... this really helps them understand that they are doing what you want.

                This is the only way we managed to stop her from speeding off and pulling or from stopping and facing us. She's tried to kick us too (this is why she is now worked in a shoulder fore!), so I will state clearly that you must keep that hind end AWAY from you at all times - especially if you are working in a small circle.

                It only took 2 -3 times before she understood that the lunge was not for playing.
                Don't get me wrong, she tries to test the limits once in a while.... but I just bring her back into a smaller circle and put her back into shoulder fore and it passes.

                This was a learning process for both of us. I had to learn that my position on the ground also played in her behavior... once I learned where to stand and how to lead her with my body, everything became much easier.

                An older, more experienced horse will sometimes allow the you to lunge without paying attention to your body but a baby allows for very few mistakes - they read you like a book - it's amazing.

                Best of luck!


                • #28
                  At the risk of getting off-topic, and stepping on toes, I have a side rein question. My concern with putting them on has always been about these specific situations. I am always concerned that the naughty behavior is when a side rein can get caught in a leg, or create more problems with a fresh horse. I was surprised to see that many recommend them in these situations. Not disagreeing, just curious.


                  • Original Poster

                    Thank you all for the advice. Where do you find the Y attachment that some people talk about, and could someone post a link to one possibly? I longe in a bridle, typically, and have not wanted to thread the line up over the poll for fear of damaging the sensitive area if he takes off and yanks it. On the same lines, I am loathe to use a chain for longing. I am going to try what ideayoda and others say, perhaps under the eye of my instructor next time. I do have to be careful because in the first few minutes when he's going to be naughty he WILL take a buck/kick out at me on a small circle. Sort of a little, "f-you, I'm feeling naughty and I want to gallop off". I do think this longeing behavior needs to stop, though, because it's dangerous for both of us. I think someone let him get away with this attitude in his early training, and now unfortunately it's my job to see that it gets erased.


                    • #30
                      To me the lunge is not a place to "get the bucks out" but more a place to introduce new things, and work on specifics without a rider. I want my horse to turn his brain on when the lunge is attached.

                      On those occations that my horse needs to blow off some steam before a ride my ideal is to let him go bazonkers in the arena (obviously empty) I prefer to put boots or wraps on him and nothing else, no tack. I have a roundpen, but for us that is a classroom too, and IMHO a roundpen is too small for a horse to gallop and buck fart safely.
                      chaque pas est fait ensemble


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by 2boys View Post
                        At the risk of getting off-topic, and stepping on toes, I have a side rein question. My concern with putting them on has always been about these specific situations. I am always concerned that the naughty behavior is when a side rein can get caught in a leg, or create more problems with a fresh horse. I was surprised to see that many recommend them in these situations. Not disagreeing, just curious.
                        I don't see how a horse could get their legs caught up in the sidereins. The ones i use are the ones with the rubber doughnut in the middle. I usually start with the sidereins at the longest point and gradually shorten them, but even at the longest point i don't think the horse could get their leg up and over it.


                        • #32
                          I do what Enjoytheride does and it's quite effective and safe.

                          Frankly, quiet work "in hand" on a long lead could do wonders before giving a horse too much freedom on the line (if it's the kind that wants to exploit the freedom, that is, the distance between you and him/her).

                          Work on the lunge is about communication and learning. With horses being what they are they can't "reason" the difference between it being "okay" to blow it out on the lunge vs. eventually thinking it's okay to blow it out with a rider on top. (not sure I said that quite right)

                          I say this of course, assuming you have a horse that did not come to you with learned silliness/disobedience on the ground or on the lunge and this is something it is now learning. If you did, it's time well spent to retrain with a short line, as Enjoytheride described, or better yet doing in-hand work gradually increasing the space between you and the horse.
                          www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                          "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                          Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by ride-n-tx View Post
                            I don't see how a horse could get their legs caught up in the sidereins. The ones i use are the ones with the rubber doughnut in the middle. I usually start with the sidereins at the longest point and gradually shorten them, but even at the longest point i don't think the horse could get their leg up and over it.
                            Actually, they can definitely do this. If the horse stretches the side rein forward-down-out in a buck and does a "punch kick" with one of the front legs (the ones where they shoot out straight from the shoulder, forward and then down) they could definitely put a foot through a side rein. I've seen horses free longeing do this dozens of times where I've thought "good thing he wasn't wearing side reins!"

                            Now, in response to the OP, I don't longe at the walk. I do in-hand work at the walk, as you have almost no control over a horse walking on a full longe circle. Trying to make a naughty or hot horse walk correctly on the longe is about as effective as trying to make a dog walk perfectly on a 30-foot leash.

                            When you go to let the horse out on the circle, make sure your line is "leafed" back and forth in your hand so you can let a layer go at a time without risking your fingers. Also, you can use your other hand to reel the layers back in easily. If the horse starts to take off, reel him in ASAP and snub him up- don't let him even get going. Then try again. After only a couple tries the horse should start to figure out he can't take off easily.

                            The thing to watch out for: if you have a really dominant horse and you do this a couple times, they *might* get ticked at this and try to run you over or kick you. I've had this happen a couple times when a horse keeps trying to take off and getting stopped up short. Once I wasn't quick enough and got flattened, so I learned my lesson about expecting reasonable behavior from naughty horses on the longe!!

                            This will sound terrible, but when working with really recalcitrant longe-ers I have kept a dressage whip handy a few times "just in case." Better safe than sorry, after all.

                            And just to clarify, these were horses that were brought to me after others were completely unable to get them to behave on the longe- horses that had kicked handlers in the past, would tear around like banshees, etc. All eventually fell into line, but you should be aware that there is a potential for safety concerns in horses like this.

                            WEAR GLOVES. WEAR A HELMET. SAFETY FIRST.



                            • #34
                              I know you said that you're concerned to bring him in on a smaller circle once he has started running around. I would start the lunging on the small circle and gain control there first, or stay there the whole time, depending on what he needs.


                              • #35
                                Good post, Spectrum. On the odd occasions when my horse thinks his name is Bucky, I put him on the longe to work it out. I handle him pretty much as you outlined -- I never ask him to walk on the longe, that's asking for trouble when he's full of beans. I ask him to trot and just make sure I can reel him in if he tries to take off and drive him forward if he bucks.

                                Gloves, helmet and whip at all times. My horse has feinted coming toward me a few times. Scared the crap out of me, but I stood up tall and got after him. He quickly reconsidered.
                                "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                                the best day in ten years,
                                you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                                  I weigh 105 pounds soaking wet and I can yank a 1500 pound 16 hand horse off his feet on the lunge line if I need to. Using a shorter line you can step into the circle and behind the horse to sharpen the angle, then spin and run backwards. It is enough to pull the head around and face the horse toward you. If the footing is slippery or the horse is especially stupid you can yank it off it's feet so be careful, although occasionally this might be a good come to jesus moment for the horse!

                                  After I do the spin n yank on the angle I immedietly put the horse back out. I don't say anything different and the horse has no idea I did anything. I did this with a green mare who would reel out to the end of the line the run flat out until you said whoa. She did whoa very well, but nothing in between! A couple days and she actually walked and trotted! Same technique worked for a bolter.

                                  I would have someone experienced help you out since they can move faster and correct the problem quicker then show you exactly what to do.
                                  I agree with this and have had to do it from time to time. I don't mind the occasional buck but rip snorting around on a lunge is not safe. And kicking out at handler is verboten.

                                  I would also keep horse on a smaller circle until you feel that he is going to be civil. If you misjudged and he tries to take off at a hand gallop and take you waterskiing, do as enjoytheride suggests.

                                  If you are in an arena with walls you can also let the wall do the work.

                                  If you are consistent at correcting the bad behaviour and say, nope, this is not on, let's start again on a small circle at a civilized trot, they do eventually get it.


                                  • #37
                                    here is the Y attachment:
                                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                                      Actually, they can definitely do this. If the horse stretches the side rein forward-down-out in a buck and does a "punch kick" with one of the front legs (the ones where they shoot out straight from the shoulder, forward and then down) they could definitely put a foot through a side rein. I've seen horses free longeing do this dozens of times where I've thought "good thing he wasn't wearing side reins!"
                                      Eeek, well i will consider myself lucky then!


                                      • #39
                                        oh its one of my biggest pet peeves. People letting their horses run out of control on a lunge. Rips apart the footing, is totally dangerous.

                                        I had one gal that I calmly asked not to lunge while my daughter was in the arena riding her horse. She firmly said she had just as much right to lunge as to ride. Anyway, as her horse took off bucking on the circle, dragging her around, I called my daughter to get off.

                                        Once the circus was over, I walked over to her and in no certain terms told her that if anything ever happens to my child due to her neglegence, she would not be a happy camper.

                                        She then told me to try to do it better. He just needed a "come to jesus" moment with the wall a couple times. His owner would just fish out the line and stand in the middle. Might as well be a rock to the horse. But as soon as I set the boundries, he was fine.

                                        To me, lunging is no different than under saddle or leading on the ground. There are just certain things a horse does not do. Period. If he's tearing around, run his butt into the wall. Trust me, it will take a couple times but they do all of a sudden start to turn that ear toward you.


                                        • #40
                                          I think I would go back to the beginning for a little refresher course on manners. I hate it when horses think they can play around for the first little bit on the lunge line. If he has enough turnout, he can play there. If you have to, lead him around the arena giving verbal commands and transition from halt to walk to trot etc. and then start with a small circle keeping his mind and heiny engaged with lots of transitions and so forth. That being said, I think that if something spooks him, or horses start galloping and he starts acting like a pinhead occasionally (but not routinely), that's what I would just ignore, try to get his attention back on you as quickly as possible and move on like nothing happened.