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What to do about naughty horse on longe line?

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  • What to do about naughty horse on longe line?

    I longe my horse occasionally before I ride if it is a windy day, or he's had a bunch of days off just to make sure he isn't going to do anything silly once I get on him. He's 7, and generally a sensible but forward type and I am an experienced rider. Still, a very few times on nasty weather days he's gotten me loose in the tack with a bit of naughtiness. Other than that he's usually fine to just get on and ride. Problem is that on the few days he is up and I go out to longe him he sometimes blows it out on the longe...takes off at a hand gallop even without me holding a whip and bucks and tears around for a few minutes until he gets it out of his system. He's hard to slow down on when he does this and I am afraid he is going to injure himself. I could stop him by bringing him in on a smaller circle, but once he gets going doing this tends to increase his odds of slipping. I unfortunately don't have a round pen to work in. So I've been letting him out to the end of the longe to make the circle as big as possible until he quiets down. Sidereins, or not, don't seem to make a difference. How would you go about solving this problem?

  • #2
    Could you jsut put him in turnout for about 30 minutes prior to you catching him to ride? sylvia
    Never explain yourself to someone who is committed to misunderstanding you.

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    • #3
      I'd use a chain over his nose or under his chin, personally.

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      • #4
        No chains imho. A well fitted caveson and a clear message and NEVER let the horse take off, stop it immediately, start over. If the horse is started well with the concept of lungeing it is on a controled smaller circle in a (s)lower gait, and then they rarely then learn they can misbehave/ignore the handler. Everyone stays safer then.
        I.D.E.A. yoda

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          As to turnout - he gets about 12 hours a day so he is out in the field when I go to ride in the winter.

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          • #6
            Ideayoda, when you say "stop him immediately", do you pull him in to face you?

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            • #7
              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.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                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.
                That is pretty much what I've been doing. Still, I don't like him careening around like an idiot for 5 minutes just because he can and like I say I am afraid he's going to hurt himself. He doesn't do this undersaddle, but as I mentioned on the occasional windy/nasty day he will give a few naughty bucks at the start of a ride. The one thing I'm having a hard time with is that I have tried stopping and restarting on a small circle, but he'll even try to take off on a very short line in the beginning which is not too safe for either of us.

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                • #9
                  I don't like to let the horse knows, ever, that I could not control him. So if you can stop him, sure go ahead, stop him. But if I know I can't stop him, I will never let him find out I wanted to stop him but I couldn't.

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                  • #10
                    Be sure you have the splint boots on him. If you do not have a lunge caveson, do not use a chain. However, thread the lungeline through the bit ring nearest you, under his chin, up the far side of his head, back across the poll toward you, and attach it to the bit ring nearest you. Do not attach the outside, siderein as long as he wants to play up on the line. This particular way of attaching the lunge give you a little better control without being entirely in his mouth, but it is no cure-all by any means. Start by lunging him in a couple of circles, then move a bit further down the side, and do a few more circles, then move a bit more, and a few more circles....until the whole arena has been covered in this direction. Now stop him, and reverse the equipment and lungeline, and go back the way you came, doing the same thing...a few circles, and move, and few more circles, and move. After completing the second circuit, if he stills wants to be fresh, repeat, the first direction, and again the second direction. This should slow him down quite a bit, with the goal being to work him equally on each side, and until the nonsense is gone. If he begins to act as if he wants to quit...too bad. You must finish the exercise...

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                    • #11
                      Interesting question, because I have this debate with my trainer. I think that if you are going to let your horse fart around on the lunge line to get the kinks out, do it before you saddle and bridle. I want my horse to know that he is working when under tack. She will encourage him to get all bucky and loose when cantering on the lunge no matter what, often by whooping and yeehawing at him.

                      When he does it with me - I don't get at him too bad, since she allows and actually encourages it, but he is immediately stopped and started again.

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                      • #12
                        I would never encourage or purposely allow a horse to buck and go nuts on a lunge and I would never encourage it. That is how they hurt themselves or hurt you. They have to understand that when they go under tack they are working.

                        I had a young horse tear her miniscus on the lunge line. She was being lunged at a very well known trainers in Germany and was allowed to go nuts, she slipped and fell and tore up her stifle. Despite all good rehab efforts she was permanently lame and became a broodmare after.

                        ps: I had just purchased her and had owned her for all of two weeks when this happened. And she was being lunged by a Bereiter student who knew what she was doing, but the footing was slippery. My point is, bad things can happen even with knowledgeable people.
                        Last edited by ltw; Jan. 2, 2008, 09:16 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                          A well fitted caveson and a clear message and NEVER let the horse take off, stop it immediately, start over.
                          I think this is the best advice. If you allow a hot horse to misbehave on the lunge then they will think that is appropriate behavior. you can't just say "i'll just let him buck and take off and then he will calm down and listen to me" because that will not always happen. they are in control when they are tearing around like a madman. if you take them to a new place like a show where there are lots of things to distract and excited them then you will have your work cut out for you.

                          when they misbehave i would do what ideayoda said and stop and start over. try sidereins too if you don't already.

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                          • #14
                            Knowing that your horse is going to clown around on the longe, be sure that you have a good quality cavesson, good side reins, and a sturdy surcingle if you aren't using a saddle. Wear your gloves, good paddock boots or riding boots, and then just let him burn off til you've got something to work with. It stops being fun for them when they think they're done, and you continue to work. The side reins will help keep you from losing control of his shoulders, and losing him, is something you want to avoid at all costs.

                            I was always told "don't interfere with forward". Hang in there, he'll grow up.
                            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

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                            • #15
                              I agree with ideayoda, too. BUT, I also knowthat if you're retraining a horse who already does this, you're in for quite a few interesting sessions.
                              "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

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                              • #16
                                My gelding has had a bucking problem in the past and I always want him to get his bucks out BEFORE I get on him. Along the lines of what rothmpp said, I want him to distinguish between recreation time and work time, so I lead him up the the arena with the saddle on, remove it for turn-out or lunging (if turn-out is not possible). When I lunge to get the bucks out, I do it in his halter with a chain wrapped around the nose band (not directly on his nose). I only lunge him briefly in each direction (say 5 minutes) until he's listening to voice commands, then I put the bridle & saddle back on & also side reins for a second (very brief) session to let him know that we're starting "work time" compared to the play time.

                                My horse has had several lameness issues so I understand your concerns about your horse racing around and hurting himself, but my experience is that they can hurt themselves just about any old time! I feel he is a little less likely to hurt himself being on big circles on the lunge line rather than running like a maniac loose when he does huge sliding stops and spin turns!

                                I also use bell boots and jumper style tendon boots in front and ankle support behind both during turn-out and riding.
                                www.moranequinephoto.com
                                "If I am fool, it is, at least, a doubting one; and I envy no one the certainty of his self-approved wisdom."
                                Byron

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                                • #17
                                  I'm of the opinion that lunging is to get a horse mentally ready to ride, when done for the purpose you describe. Your horse is out 12 hours a day, he has 12 hours to buck and fart and do whatever he wants to. Any time a horse is attached to me - lunge line, lead rope, even in the stall as proximity "attachment" - there is no funny business allowed EVER.

                                  You're right, he has the very real possibility of seriously injuring himself cavorting around like that, but for me that's only part of the reason I don't allow it. The rest is what I said above, time with me is "serious" time. Lunging can be a great tool to get the horse mentally focused on you so he can be a Good Horse Citizen for the next hour or so.

                                  So, what do I do? Whatever it takes to get the forward motion stopped. This might mean me running a bit so the horse heads towards the fence, and in the mean time I'm putting a clear message out through the lunge line to his head that he needs to stop and stop now.
                                  ______________________________
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                                  • #18
                                    So, how do you retrain one who has already figured out that he is an 1800 pound skiboat, and you are merely an arena surfer dragging at the end of the line until you finally let go?

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by MyReality View Post
                                      I don't like to let the horse knows, ever, that I could not control him. So if you can stop him, sure go ahead, stop him. But if I know I can't stop him, I will never let him find out I wanted to stop him but I couldn't.
                                      I agree with that! If you are "allowing" him to run he's not getting away with anything, but if you are trying to stop him and he is still running he's getting away with it.

                                      I also think that some horses have to "work" on the line, because the sense of freedom overwhelms them, they try to take advantage and get out of control, while others who tend to be more relaxed can buzz around on the line at a 100 and then go back to work without a question.

                                      And then you have mine, who for some unknown reason is scared beyond belief of lunging, the line, the whip, and the whole concept, so instead of getting killed attempting to lunge the terrified horse I just let him canter on the buckle with me on (he's VERY sensible with a rider). I figure that he'll lay his head in my lap, let me climb on him like a jungle gym, gallop around the track and stop with a "whoa", if he doesn't lunge so be it.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        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.
                                        http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

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