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When Lungeing, Roundpenning and Groundwork Don't Calm Your Horse

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  • When Lungeing, Roundpenning and Groundwork Don't Calm Your Horse

    I would like to hear about anyone who has found that lunging/roundpenning/groundwork for and extended period of time wasn't enough to take all the freshness out of a young and energetic green horse.

    I usually expect that after forty five or fifty minutes of lunging, free-lunging, roundpenning and groundwork a horse will be completely calm. (unless its an arabian ). This is my heretofore foolproof "calming supplement" on windy days, or before a trail ride where we will be cantering, before a lesson, etc.

    To make a long story short, I have recently seen my young horse get exited while cantering (kicking out, mini-bucks, etc...not a true explosion or anything) even after all of the above. I would have never expected this. Is this common? I'm amazed that a horse's nerves/excitement could defy nearly an hour of hard physical/mental exercise.

  • #2
    This can be my horse at horseshows. I think its just the adrenaline. Even if he is physically tired, he can still drag me around... and jumps poorly because he's tired. I've tried everything from minimizing his feed, to lunging, to working under saddle, to supplements, etc. It's just the way he is. Some days he's completely relaxed, but on days when he's fresh/nervous/excited, there isn't much I can do to make him relax. I have noticed that putting him on the lunge for a few minutes, just before I get on (no sidereins) just to let him loosen up his back and relax does help sometimes (15 mins max). The more physically tired he is, the worse he performs, and I've determined it's nearly impossible to exhaust him mentally (which is what really needs to chill).

    Good luck! He might get better as he matures or when the weather warms up again.

    Also, you don't want to make your horse too fit. If you lunge him for 50 mins before you get on every time, he's just going to need more and more lunging to make him tired.

    Comment


    • #3
      it is lack of turn out time in a large field where the horse can truly gallop about, and he needs probably four hours outside before you longe him and then ride him, maybe adjust his grain intake too and give him free choice hay and less grain

      Comment


      • #4
        You need to get hold of the horses face, tie his head down with reins to the side of the saddle. I also run my reins between the front legs and tie them on top of the saddle, and this is on a horse that has been worked many times and wont flip over backwards.

        I only have to round pen her about 15 min, then all done and ready for a nice ride.

        You have to find away to get hold of the horses face. Calms them down every time.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Hoot&Tick View Post
          You need to get hold of the horses face, tie his head down with reins to the side of the saddle. I also run my reins between the front legs and tie them on top of the saddle, and this is on a horse that has been worked many times and wont flip over backwards.
          OMG, seriously???

          If anyone is having to roundpen/lunge a horse for 45 minutes just to be able to ride, one needs to re-evaluate the situation. Either the horse is inherently too hot for you to handle (ie "professional's" horse vs "amateur's" horse), or the turnout situation isn't working, or the diet is wrong, or there is a lack of basic training.
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Hoot&Tick View Post
            You need to get hold of the horses face, tie his head down with reins to the side of the saddle. I also run my reins between the front legs and tie them on top of the saddle, and this is on a horse that has been worked many times and wont flip over backwards.

            I only have to round pen her about 15 min, then all done and ready for a nice ride.

            You have to find away to get hold of the horses face. Calms them down every time.
            please tell me you are joking
            www.destinationconsensusequus.com
            chaque pas est fait ensemble

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
              please tell me you are joking
              Works like a charm, no different from driving one or using a sursingle except you use the saddle.

              I know several top trainers that do this.

              My mare can be in heat and bucking bronco and roundpen her with the reins tied to the saddle where she can't do whatever she wants she gives it up.

              Many riders tie their horses heads around and down to teach the horse to give the bit and learn to flex.

              I know one trainer that would tied his horses head around and let him stand in the stall for awhile everytime he tried to buck while being ridden.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Hoot&Tick View Post
                I know one trainer that would tied his horses head around and let him stand in the stall for awhile everytime he tried to buck while being ridden.
                And I guarantee that by the time he gets back to his stall and gets his head tied around, he makes ZERO connection to bucking while under saddle. None.
                ______________________________
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hoot&Tick View Post
                  You need to get hold of the horses face, tie his head down with reins to the side of the saddle. I also run my reins between the front legs and tie them on top of the saddle, and this is on a horse that has been worked many times and wont flip over backwards.

                  I only have to round pen her about 15 min, then all done and ready for a nice ride.

                  You have to find away to get hold of the horses face. Calms them down every time.
                  Before everybody goes nuts about this I think more explanation is needed, I have seen this - mostly in western barns.

                  The first part of tying the reins to the saddle - replace reins with sidereins to the girth and the idea is the same. No big deal.

                  The second part of tying between the front legs is more like using a side reins very low, but the reins in question are western length so they are long enough to go between the front legs and to the saddle without being way too short.

                  Christa P

                  Who has used side reins for warm up on occasion.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You need to first learn what someone means when they use the term get hold of thier face.

                    You have to get the horse broke in the face to the bit, etc, etc!!!

                    It is mostly using your reins as if you are riding but you are working your horse on the ground so if the horse does, buck, flip over, try and run off you are not on him.

                    I see this used at all the clinics, RFD TV, and by many riders and trainers.

                    Since I started doing this I have not had a horse run off, buck, act silly are anything. I have had NO riding accidents since. Now I don't have to put up with and ill horse for hours while on his back, just work him like this for 15 min and they are ready for a good ride.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      OP, I did have one mare (a TB) that I never could get tired, calm, and paying attention. That was just her--she was an Energizer Bunny and probably would have made a heck of an endurance horse. Very sweet and sensible, just always had a ton of energy. She kept the rest of my herd fit running all over the big pasture, day and night. She would occasionally forget herself and throw happy bucks while cantering under saddle. I found that the most effective deterrant was to make her stop immediately and stand still for a few seconds. Having to stand was a fate worse than death.

                      I have another one now like horsegirl described. When she likes something, she gets very excited about doing it. Even when she's really tired, she's still wound up and ready to go. With her, I practice time outs and make her do something boring until she can behave herself.

                      ETA: All of my work is done under saddle. If a horse is extremely fresh and full of itself, I'll start in an arena or small, boring area. We do a bunch of trotting, up and down transitions from halt to trot, patterns, etc. until the horse has settled somewhat (i.e. is less likely to blow up), and then we go out to the big hill and do some work there. We don't do canter or gallop work until I'm pretty sure their brains won't fall out. I'm trying to get them fit as well as settled down and fairly safe, so that routine works well.

                      But in answer to what you're describing, yes, a lot of horses can still be 'up' after an hour of work, even mentally and physically challenging u/s work. To me it's a sign that the horse will probably need a career/owner that'll give their energy an outlet.
                      Last edited by WildBlue; Dec. 28, 2007, 10:02 AM. Reason: clarity
                      ---------------------------

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        At the most I would expect it to take 20 or 30 min. max for a young one to get the bucks out. If not, he may be eating too much high-energy feed and/or hay. He may also need more turnout or simply not be a good match or suited for the job you would like him to do. I have to say, for a really hot one, living outside works quite well. Also keep in mind that when you longe or roundpen a horse, you are making him fitter. Eventually you will run out of daylight.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          When lungeing, roundpenning and groundwork don't calm your horse

                          The more you lunge the fitter the horse becomes, the more you have to lunge.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You are experiencing a wonderful phenomenon: fitness.

                            IMO, the true purpose of the round pen (when used correctly) is to use specific exercises to focus the horse's attention on you. You use your body language to communicate with the horse. It's not meant to force compliance through exhaustion -- that's what gives round penning a bad name.

                            Same with longing. If you watch somone very skilled at it, they usually have some type of purpose to the exercise, some higher goal or at least a vision of what they'd like the horse to learn. It's not just mindless running in circles.

                            To address your problem, ask yourself what your horse just learned from his lunging/round penning session. Did he learn to run in circles and get his body fit? Or did he learn to focus on you and obey your subtlest signal? If you can work on the latter, you can start to channel your horse's energy in constructive ways and (hopefully) end up with a fantastic athelete and partner. If not, as the horse gets more fit, you'll have to run him more and more to "take the edge off him." That's a lot of time wasted.

                            If it was my horse, I'd probably put him in training and take some lessons on him. If I was still afraid of him after that, I would sell him and get something more suitable. Not all horses are suitable for all people, and there's no shame in that.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Maybe I'm not among the masses but I don't use longing/groundwork/roundpenning to tire my horses before I ride. I use it to get their attention and put them in a working frame of mind. Though sometimes I'll use it as a workout instead of riding, then we have "warmup time" and real "work time" and there is a distinct difference in the horses' attitude between the phases.

                              If my horse throws in a couple of bucks or some sass while longing it doesn't mean they'll do the same undersaddle and I never make that assumption. Sure I like them to get their bucks out on the line vs when I'm sat in the saddle, but that's not what I use it for. I use it as a transition from "free time" in turnout to "work time" undersaddle.

                              I also use it to gague how "on" the horse is, and to check for lameness or other things I may have missed during grooming and tacking up.
                              Life is short; live in colour.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by dancersdressagegroom View Post
                                The more you lunge the fitter the horse becomes, the more you have to lunge.
                                Amen! We never lunge our horses for more than 10-15 minutes total and it is for training purposes only! If you are lunging for almost an hour then a) the horse is too fit for its intended purpose b) it needs more turn-out c) its diet needs to be adjusted. It may be prudent to address a, b, and c before lunging further.
                                #JusticeForSunshine

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Tuff Tilly View Post
                                  Maybe I'm not among the masses but I don't use longing/groundwork/roundpenning to tire my horses before I ride. I use it to get their attention and put them in a working frame of mind. Though sometimes I'll use it as a workout instead of riding, then we have "warmup time" and real "work time" and there is a distinct difference in the horses' attitude between the phases.
                                  You're exactly right, and this is what I should have stated in my first post. My post was referring to "it's not going to work" if you're using it for physical exhaustion. I have absolutely no problem doing constructive groundwork that is geared towards getting the horse to think, not react, and to just get focused on you. Yes, some horses might take an hour of this before being mentally safe to ride - that's fine. If in 2 years you still have to do an hour of this, something's not right. But absolutely, if a horse is being a fruitcake, get a long lead line or lunge line on and get the horse's brain busy. It's not a matter of putting him out there and making/letting him run in circles for 30 minutes - that doesn't get you anything but a tired horse this time and a more fit one next time.
                                  ______________________________
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    make sure said horse has ample turnout time and the right diet.

                                    teach horse to give laterally. Like REALLY give.

                                    case in point:
                                    frightened, overstimulated, young, fit TWH. rode him in a plain, slow twist snaffle (he'd lean on a smooth). taught him that if my body went neutral, and I asked his nose to my knee, that he'd stay there UNTIL he relaxed, stood still, and gave me his nose. Then we'd go to the other knee and repeat til done. In time he learned to relax, stand still, and flex in both directions softly, happily. we made this a normal, at home routine.

                                    FF to a little horse show. rode him into the arena and it was horrible- he was a barely controlled, scared, hopped up demon horse. Terrified. Afraid I'd ear him down or worse- truly- he was racing around with his left ear pinned down and his right in OMG mode- not pretty. People avoided us in the warm up sort of not pretty> So, I sat soft, laughed softly at him, and asked him to bend and give. the first 10 or even 2 were a bit of a mexican standoff, but in about 10-15 minutes he was PUTTY. Walking, slowly and calmly, on a slack rein.

                                    Teach him there's a place thats calm and quiet, then show him how to go there.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I haven't read all the answers, just the post.

                                      I don't ever use lunging to take the energy out of the horse...only to train obedience to the gait asked for and particularly for the transitions within the gaits.

                                      It sounds to me like lunging is being used for the wrong reasons and executed incorrectly.
                                      www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                                      "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                                      Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Hoot&Tick View Post
                                        You need to get hold of the horses face, tie his head down with reins to the side of the saddle. I also run my reins between the front legs and tie them on top of the saddle, and this is on a horse that has been worked many times and wont flip over backwards.

                                        I only have to round pen her about 15 min, then all done and ready for a nice ride.

                                        You have to find away to get hold of the horses face. Calms them down every time.
                                        I'm sorry but that is the WORST advice I have ever heard.

                                        If I tied my mare's head down and just let her loose, she would have a conniption and most likely injure herself. Just like sidereins, anything that restricts a horse's head needs to be introduced gradually. Telling someone to tie their young horse's head to the saddle without mentioning anything about gradual and slow introduction is a disaster waiting to happen.

                                        Also, if the horse doesn't absolutely panic and explode on you, it surely can teach them that they can lean, lean, lean on those reins until their heart's content, and brace against rein pressure. That's certainly not what you want, either!

                                        As for tieing the reins under the front legs and up, that's dangerous, too. If the horse puts its head down long and low, they can very easily step on the reins that way.
                                        Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

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