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Remedial lunging question

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  • Remedial lunging question

    So I've been working my new horse on the lunge to help build fitness and topline without the burden of carrying me every day. So far, generally, so good.

    Except that we have a problem with stopping. He's a good boy, and very smart, he's trying to do what I ask, and its not as though he's running around madly on the lunge either. But he seems to be tuning me out when I ask for the down transition. When working in hand, we have no problem with walk-halt and trot-walk. But if I step back from him more than two or three feet, he pretends to have no idea what I'm saying.

    So far, I've just been bringing the circle in really small and asking when I'm reasonably close to him, but I haven't been able to get the transitions at a distance.

    Any tips on teaching this boy how to "whoa" and "walk"? I feel like an idiot even asking this.
    Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.

  • #2
    Originally posted by eponacelt View Post
    So I've been working my new horse on the lunge to help build fitness and topline without the burden of carrying me every day. So far, generally, so good.

    Except that we have a problem with stopping. He's a good boy, and very smart, he's trying to do what I ask, and its not as though he's running around madly on the lunge either. But he seems to be tuning me out when I ask for the down transition. When working in hand, we have no problem with walk-halt and trot-walk. But if I step back from him more than two or three feet, he pretends to have no idea what I'm saying.

    So far, I've just been bringing the circle in really small and asking when I'm reasonably close to him, but I haven't been able to get the transitions at a distance.

    Any tips on teaching this boy how to "whoa" and "walk"? I feel like an idiot even asking this.
    Start on the lead line. Use voice command. Reward with food and voice ("Good boy.") Do it on the longe at the walk. When he masters that go to the trot, etc.

    On the longe, body language can also be helpful. I bend my knees a bit and crouch, bringing the longe line down to exert a slight downward pressure on the bit.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

    Comment


    • #3
      A couple of quick suggestions. You can step forward (in front of his girth). That may get him to slow.

      If he really tends to ignore you, longe in the corner of the arena, so two sides of your circle come near the wall. As you ask him to slow or halt, step toward the wall. This will help reinforce your command.

      good luck.

      Comment


      • #4
        Add this to what you are already doing--when you ask for a downward transition, take a deep breath and release it slowly. As you do, drop your shoulders and r-e-l-a-x, so that you drop your own "energy".
        "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

        Spay and neuter. Please.

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        • #5
          :-)

          I would suggest, if you are not doing this already (and you might be ), trying to be aware of where you are with in the circle when you are asking for transitions. When I want the horse to go forward I stay behind the shoulder, walk towards the butt and even walk backwards towards the rear. When I want a downward transition I place myself in front of the shoulder (paying attention to your posture, hips and shoulder...keeping them all straight and upright, i nline with the horse). When you ride the horse is a reflection of the rider, and I think this is true on the ground as well) If the horse does not respond, I very gently flex my hand, to very lightly pull on the halter/bit, in time with the front outside foot. I also am always using vocal commands in conjunction with every transition I ask for. When asking for upward transitions, I also say the gate I am asking for with an upward inflection (tr-OT). For downward transitions I try to use a soft constant inflection (waaaa-lk).

          Comment


          • #6
            Two thoughts: Start the horse in walk, if it goes too quickly IMMEDIATELY stop it (have a caveson on, rather off the bit which tends to put out of balance/hence hurrying). IF the horse does not stop, then work the horse toward the wall (ie change the circle so the wall is in front of the horse by you walking toward the wall very clearly). When the horse stops, then say whoa (never words first but combined with the action). The two issues are solvable in one lesson, and then reinforced daily. Make sure you are staying on one place when you are lunging so that each stride is with even bending/balance. Perhaps have someone who is good at lunging show you, and then stand behind you and make refinements.
            I.D.E.A. yoda

            Comment


            • #7
              as was mentioned do pay very close attention to your body language and your position, you might be saying whoa, but your body language could be saying go. This includes how your shoulders are faced, how you hold your line and how you hold the whip.

              eta, also bear in mind your body position while you're requesting forward as well.... many many many people ask their horses to move off on the longe with body language that might be conflicting, aka standing ahead of the girth with a high longe line hand, but also an active whip and constant clucking. If a horse is accustomed to moving ahead despite conflicting aids, then it would only make sense that the aids to stop might also be very confusing.

              Originally posted by eponacelt View Post
              When working in hand, we have no problem with walk-halt and trot-walk. But if I step back from him more than two or three feet, he pretends to have no idea what I'm saying.
              my suggestion is to take baby steps, if he's fine while you're at his shoulder, but tunes you out at 4' away, then work at 2' away, then graduate.... always work where you're getting a reaction then graduate slowly from there.

              He may indeed be tuning you out too, or find all this stopping and starting pointless some clever horses do "she's just going to ask me to get going again so why bother stopping at all?"... or perhaps he's enthused about working for you... so work on stopping when stopping will come easily, like after a long trot/canter/trot set when he's probably wanting to stop on his own for a break. Set yourself up for success by working on things when he's likely to want to do it naturally.

              Finally, when you do ask him to stop and he does... wait. Don't immediately send him off again. Stand together for a bit if he's nice and quiet (if he's anxious then ask him to walk on before he gets the notion himself, and then also realize he's probably too enthused to be able to concentrate on stopping ). Waiting will give meaning to being asked to stop. Stop, go, stop, go, stop, go can get pretty arbitrary quickly to a young enthused horse... but if you inject meaning into stopping, there is a real need for you to stop when I say so, then the lesson might be taken more seriously. A tidbit, fiddling with the tack, some praise for standing stock still all can give a horse the need to take the request seriously. Perhaps even throw in some ground tying into the repertoire
              Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                Two thoughts: Start the horse in walk, if it goes too quickly IMMEDIATELY stop it (have a caveson on, rather off the bit which tends to put out of balance/hence hurrying). IF the horse does not stop, then work the horse toward the wall (ie change the circle so the wall is in front of the horse by you walking toward the wall very clearly). When the horse stops, then say whoa (never words first but combined with the action). The two issues are solvable in one lesson, and then reinforced daily. Make sure you are staying on one place when you are lunging so that each stride is with even bending/balance. Perhaps have someone who is good at lunging show you, and then stand behind you and make refinements.
                There in a nutshell.

                Note the use of a cavesson. A good cavesson is a lifetime investment, a cheap one is worthless. It should be designed with a metal bridge over the nose, and the ability for the chin strap to be placed much as one would place a dropped nose band. This allows a little action of the bit as you vibrate the line.

                The Complete Training of Horse and Rider" by Podjhasky gives a wonderful
                explanation of technique.
                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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                • #9
                  look here
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                  http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&sou...uC3gwAccYykByg

                  http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&sou...4tmCo7RE_OShxw


                  all on page 3 from my helpful links pages

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