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lunging spooking horse

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  • lunging spooking horse

    We're trying to get a new horse use to our area and arena. We've been lunging her on a line and in side reins. Occasionally she will spook at something and take off at a gallop. Do we let her run and get it out of her system or try and bring her down to a trot to calm her down. We've been doing the latter, as I'm assuming I don't want her getting into the habit of taking off is something scares her.

  • #2
    I've kind of always wondered about this. I do both depending on my horses mood. I guess my mood too. I don't lunge in side reins though.

    For my horse, if he spooks right away and takes off at the gallop, I bring him back to a trot and then canter. I don’t want him running off like from the get go. He knows it goes walk, trot and then canter both ways.

    If his spook comes a little later in our lunge and he spooks at something stupid, I let him run it out and then make him run a little longer. He soon realizes running is exhausting and running off like that just equals more work. Of course I don't know if he really realizes that but it seems like he does.
    Owned by an Oldenburg

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Mimi La Rue View Post

      For my horse, if he spooks right away and takes off at the gallop, I bring him back to a trot and then canter. I don’t want him running off like from the get go. He knows it goes walk, trot and then canter both ways.

      If his spook comes a little later in our lunge and he spooks at something stupid, I let him run it out and then make him run a little longer. He soon realizes running is exhausting and running off like that just equals more work. Of course I don't know if he really realizes that but it seems like he does.
      This is what I do too.

      I don't mind the spook if the horse is being respectful of the line. I DONT appreciate skiing on dirt and having my arms ripped out of their sockets. That's just bad behavior IMO.

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      • #4
        Depends...

        I personally don't like letting them blast around. Too much chance of a strain/sprain/tear. Lunging is stressful enough without risking playtime. That is what turnout is for. I also want them to know lunging is work not play time. What will happen when I go to a show and there is no arena to lunge in only a field? What happens when I want to long line? I don't fancy the idea of my heels making furrows in the dirt as I ski around!

        I have also had my elegant idiot of a OTTB slip & fall from deciding to do the leaping buck at speed while unbalanced on a lunge line. Several times. Usually just when I think he is finally settling in BAM the BoogeyMan has popped up from behind the rail to eat him. Leap, buck, slip, scramble, slide into home base. Then get up and run some more before I can stop him. Sigh...... Fortunately HE has never done worse than a scrape and a bit sore the next day. You think he would learn but it happens almost once a year, usually in the winter when there is a break and we can get outside. He gets "Indoor-ites" and forgets that we actually spent the whole summer and fall outside. Where there are birds and leaves and wind and mud. Shocker I know.

        Running to exhaustion does not work with some horses. Running a high strung horse only reinforces that running was the right thing to do. They don't get tired. They get frazzled. They may be breathing hard and physically exhausted but the lesson is not learned. A horse that wants to work and work hard does not get it. Letting them run only works on the ones who are lazy and really do not want to work that hard. They slow down on their own in a lap or two anyway. Letting them learn to run on the line, if they don't get hurt, only makes them fitter too. What used to take 10 minutes of running now takes 20,30,40.....

        I don't mind a feel good buck or two, as long as speed is not involved.

        I like to lunge in a ring with rails taller than the horse wants to jump or walls like an indoor. This way if he really gets going and he is not listening to my aids pulling him into a smaller circle only increases the likelihood of a injury or fall, I steer them into the wall. No horse will run himself into a wall. They ALL stop. Once they stop we can regroup and begin again.
        The look on their face when they realize you mean for them to run into the wall is like "Uh...OH hello brain! I guess I better stop my feet now!" Then they look at me like "WTF just happened?"
        With my my horse at this point, I can just steer him near the rail and he will stop on his own. Now if I can only catch him BEFORE he spooks.....

        I will say that I lunge on a regular basis with and without side reins. He knows all the commands and 99% of the time listens well and is a good boy but he is an animal and every now and again has a wild moment. If I misjudge the "moment" and think it is just good spirits and he will calm down, that's when it gets wild.

        On the other hand, I've posted here on the board about a 16h draftX I train who learned to bolt on the lunge line. Suffice to say he has BROKEN the side reins AND the lunge line, which had the chain part was over his nose, and pulled a 6'4" man off his feet. He is one I really don't want to learn to run & play on the line. The same with spooking and running. Whoa damn well means "STOP NOW"! He is generally lazy and self preserving but he has had times when he felt he needed to clean his pipes on the lunge and it was pretty intense. He too slipped and fell in the mud becasue he bolted after a spook. Happily he only got muddy and was fine.

        So no, make her stop and calm down.
        "I am a sand dancer... just here for the jumps!" - Schrammo
        http://atoxcequestrian.com/
        https://www.facebook.com/groups/127749947563045/

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks for all the great comments! I agree with ctab. Our other horse, we think bowed a tendon in the round pen. Went a bit too crazy and hit himself with his back foot. Now we ALWAYS put boots on.

          Yesterday, We lunged our 16.2 spooky horse in an arena rather than the round pen because she was a bit scared by some of the corners and other goblins. We normally hook the lunge line up under her chin like a curb chain, and she nearly took my arm off. Today, we put the lung line over her pol. When she took off, she pretty much brought herself under control because the lunge line brought down her head and tightened the bit striaght up into her mouth rather than puling her head from the side. She went into a trot in about half a circle, whereas hooked up the other way she went several circles before she trotted. This also seemed to calm her down quicker.

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          • #6
            depends on why you're longeing... if you you longe purely to let the horse squeal and buck let it do that.

            If you use longing as a real training tool its unacceptable imo. Longing is the leg-work to riding... do you want a horse to bolt while riding? probably not.

            I'd be doing everything i could to get the horse back to work and paying attention to his job (ie: longing). I dont use side reins when i longe... and yes, i use longing as a training tool when my greenie horse is in a new place. (mainly cuz if there IS a big spook, i can win that battle from groundwork... but dont trust that my riding can if its BIG!) and that longe work we did all last year to start her under-saddle training is what the horse knows... its something horse knows and can be confident. And if you're curious, her under-saddle spooks are few and far between. horse might 'look' but putting her to work(as i did on the longe) gets her brain back on me pretty quick without incident.

            underlying lesson... longeing is work/training. Use it accordingly good luck!
            Carol and Princess Dewi

            **~Doccer'sDressage~**

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by doccer View Post
              depends on why you're longeing... if you you longe purely to let the horse squeal and buck let it do that.

              If you use longing as a real training tool its unacceptable imo. Longing is the leg-work to riding... do you want a horse to bolt while riding? probably not.

              I'd be doing everything i could to get the horse back to work and paying attention to his job (ie: longing). I dont use side reins when i longe... and yes, i use longing as a training tool when my greenie horse is in a new place. (mainly cuz if there IS a big spook, i can win that battle from groundwork... but dont trust that my riding can if its BIG!) and that longe work we did all last year to start her under-saddle training is what the horse knows... its something horse knows and can be confident. And if you're curious, her under-saddle spooks are few and far between. horse might 'look' but putting her to work(as i did on the longe) gets her brain back on me pretty quick without incident.

              underlying lesson... longeing is work/training. Use it accordingly good luck!
              Thanks! We are lunging strictly as training. Our trainer suggested the side reins to improve her backend, which it has. The side reins do tend to keep her a bit more focused too. We are keeping her very busy with transitions and she is improving. She still is new to our area and sees something that just sets her off. We have been trying to keep the lunging as just work and lots of it to keep her mind occupied and build up her muscle tone, as the previous owners could not get her out as often as she needed.

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