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horse that will not lunge?

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  • horse that will not lunge?

    I have a 9 yo gelding that I had gifted to me about a month ago. He was unbroken and sat in a pasture for years, and had had a handful of owners. I found out in a round about way that this horse had been sent to multiple trainers to be started and always returned with the "trainer" saying that nothing could be done with him. I assume that people kept trying because he is a nice size (16.2+), moves beautifully and of course is a flashy paint.

    I got him with no ground manners(would run you over, pushy ect). With a few hours of work (over a few days) he was leading like a pro. His favorite reward seems to be pats and a good boy comment. Great personality, runs to the gate to see people and has a great, calm mind under saddle. He is going walk trot really well! He has his steering and a great halt. I introduced ground poles and he didn't even blink, he even hacks out around the property without a care. He has a lot of try and seems to want to have a job. However I think many of his problems stem from him being somewhat smart as opposed to being a dumb brick as was previously though. After a few regular grooming sessions he took up waiting for me to be done with a brush, then handing me the next one with his mouth. He knows that we go curry, thick brush, thin oval brush, hoof pick. Yeah I know, I would not believe i either, he is very odd.

    The snag? He refuses to lunge... I know how to lunge and have taught a few without any real problems. This guy wants to come to stand by me and follow me, not go away. I am out of ideas to (gently) teach him this. Now, he does not need to lunge for my purposes, I really never do it besides for training (even at shows) but I know that in the show world this seems to be a necessary skill set. I don't want it to hurt his chances of getting a good show home if/when that time comes.

    Note: I have a trainer, and have talked to a few others on this problems, no one has a answer for this horse. He will be sent to a professional to be started over fences, however for now I will be working with him (under trainer's watch).

  • #2
    I wonder if one of his previous 'trainers' had used NH methods.. I've seen several recently (last 10 years) who think they have to face you - always. Makes me crazy when I try to put fly spray on their hind ends and we wind up doing a little dance with lovely turns on the forehand. All I can say is with the few that 'won't' lunge, I just had to get a little firm and send them away and get them moving. Doubly hard when they are sweet and want to be with you.

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    • #3
      I had one that wouldn't longe. He was too smart for that crap.

      Will he at least walk ahead of you with you at his girth and circle on a short lead? That's the start.
      ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

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      • #4
        Why don't you try ground driving and then transitioning into lunging. That's how I had to teach one of my babies.
        Southern Cross Guest Ranch
        An All Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation - Georgia

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        • #5
          P.S. I want to see pics of this guy. Sounds nice!
          Southern Cross Guest Ranch
          An All Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation - Georgia

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          • #6
            I second the ground driving. Might be just what he needs. And if he's already good under saddle, he may not have trouble with this, (steering, etc.).

            Good luck!
            “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
            ¯ Oscar Wilde

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            • #7
              We have a horse that was previously owned by a fan of NH - the horse used to turn in to face the lunge person. But we needed to teach this horse to lunge properly for Pony Club C3 ratings.
              We used a helper person to walk and halt with the horse to properly face the circle track and gradually weaned the horse of this help.
              It took few sessions, maybe 2-3/week, few minutes on the lunge.

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              • #8
                That's pretty amazing about him picking up the next brush and handing it to you. I'll say he's smart!

                My horse always wanted to be with me too, and did not get the idea about lunging until I managed to chase him away and send him forward a few times. He just needed to understand what was wanted and then he was fine.

                Good luck! He sounds like a great horse.
                Mon Ogon (Mo) and Those Wer the Days (Derby)

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                • #9
                  Don't worry about the longe - he can learn that next year! He sounds as if he's doing fabulous so keep that relationship going.
                  He likely realizes that standing in means No Work & is playing you, but when he's already offering you so much, I'd just focus on building that trust.

                  When it's time & you feel you really need to do it, start by round penning, then transfer that to a longe line.

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                  • #10
                    I wouldn't worry about longing either! I show and I don't own a longeline. When you want to start longing, you may want to have someone ride him on the longeline and teach him that way. Just an idea!
                    It's 2016. Do you know where your old horse is?

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                    • #11
                      LOL, some of the advice is amusing.

                      Here is mine:

                      Step one: put horse on lunge line.

                      Step two: pick up lunge whip and ask horse to move out and on.

                      Step three: crack lunge whip

                      Step four: Whack horse with lunge whip until he moves his sorry butt.

                      There are obviously steps in between this but my point is that lunging is a very very simple and basic thing for a horse that can be taught in one session and improved on in half a dozen. If he respects the whip he'll move away from it and you can teach him to lunge. If he doesn't respect the whip then you are actually allowed to give him a whack with it. It isn't going to hurt your bond or his trust in you if you have to be firm with him about some basic training method.

                      The lunge line is an important place for a horse to learn the different verbal cues that will make under saddle learning easier, and for them to learn how to be prompt and obedient. What you think is smart and friendly behavior in refusing to lunge is him testing dominance and exactly how much work he has to do.
                      http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

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                      • #12
                        This is my biggest pet peeve w/ NH. Lunging is a skill EVERY horse should learn because more people know how to lunge than round pen. They can learn both ways, but if you have to choose one, CHOOSE LUNGING please!

                        Now this particular horse sounds so smart I would use clicker training with him and I bet he'd pick up the 'click = reward' really fast.

                        Although I have started many ponies with the method used by Enjoytheride, I think that this horse will not respond well to pain, and will become confused. I'd go the easy route. I also would be thinking of either keeping him because he sounds like the horse of a lifetime.

                        Pictures would be nice
                        ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
                        Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

                        "Life is merrier with a terrier!"

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                        • #13
                          I second those who have suggested ground driving. It would be an easy transition from ground driving to lunging. Good luck he sounds like a fabulous horse!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Step one: put horse on lunge line.

                            Step two: pick up lunge whip and ask horse to move out and on.

                            Step three: crack lunge whip

                            Step four: Whack horse with lunge whip until he moves his sorry butt.

                            There are obviously steps in between this but my point is that lunging is a very very simple and basic thing for a horse that can be taught in one session and improved on in half a dozen. If he respects the whip he'll move away from it and you can teach him to lunge. If he doesn't respect the whip then you are actually allowed to give him a whack with it. It isn't going to hurt your bond or his trust in you if you have to be firm with him about some basic training method.

                            Don't you think that if this methodology worked with this gelding he likely would not have been an unstarted 9 yr old giveaway that had been sent home by multiple trainers ...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No, because anyone can hang a shingle as a trainer without knowing much about horses and every person that asked the horse to lunge then gave up after a few tries just taught the horse more bad habits.

                              Having taught horses to ground drive I believe that you need just as much skill if not more to teach a horse to ground drive as you do to lunge.

                              I think that babying a horse that has been sent around multiple trainers is like tiptoeing around a dragon. Eventually you're going to push the horse into something he doesn't think is part of the program and someone is going to get hurt. I'd rather establish the rules on the ground immedietly in a basic way.
                              http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by alto View Post
                                Don't you think that if this methodology worked with this gelding he likely would not have been an unstarted 9 yr old giveaway that had been sent home by multiple trainers ...
                                ^
                                BINGO!

                                Ground-driving sounds like an excellent idea.

                                Or you could try a method I used on a 4yo who Would.Not.Longe.

                                Make a triangle with the horse as the base, you at the peak and longe right on top of him (at walk, of course) until you can gradually move him out.
                                I mean literally you are right on his side to start - maybe 2' between you & horse.

                                You will hold the whip, but not use it until horse will walk on the longe at a distance. You need to be safely out of range of a possible cowkick.

                                Once he will walk some 10' from you on the circle, you can rest the lash on his butt to encourage forward, but no tapping and definitely no smacking until he will walk off at a safe distance.

                                Your boy sounds smart enough (I love your description of the Brush Game he plays w/you) to figure this out in a couple sessions if not right away.
                                *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                                  -
                                  I think that babying a horse that has been sent around multiple trainers is like tiptoeing around a dragon. .
                                  I think this is a great analogy!

                                  I work on these types of horses, and I will be upfront that I require them to lunge, period. And for several reasons. They don't have to lunge great, but they have to move forward, and respect the end of my line. I also will be honest that I am in the department that horses need to respect the line, I don't use a roundpen.

                                  Start really small, as long as you are sure he won't kick you. As you move toward his hip, he needs to step forward or cross his inside hind under his belly and step away. You can do this with a dressage whip and a soft cloth tied to the end to get his attention. As he starts cruising forward at the walk, you can slowly let the line out.

                                  I want horses to lunge so I can monitor their soundness, I think bitting rigs are useful training tools for intermediate horses; they need to lunge for those. I think lunging develops respect for us as being in charge, and you can figure a lot out about the horse from the lunge line. I rarely canter my horses on the line, I don't use it to wear them down, it is just a useful tool.

                                  Just to note: Are you positive this horse is sound? and does he hear?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    does he hear?
                                    usually easy enough to assess from ear position.

                                    like tiptoeing around a dragon
                                    sometimes it's easier to discover the dragon than to put it away again

                                    I got him with no ground manners(would run you over, pushy ect). With a few hours of work (over a few days) he was leading like a pro. His favorite reward seems to be pats and a good boy comment. Great personality, runs to the gate to see people and has a great, calm mind under saddle. He is going walk trot really well! He has his steering and a great halt. I introduced ground poles and he didn't even blink, he even hacks out around the property without a care. He has a lot of try and seems to want to have a job.
                                    This is a pretty amazing list for an unstarted horse (with giveaway issues) to accomplish in a month - if he works best with positive rewards, why introduce a negative reward system
                                    I suspect he will easily lunge when he realizes where the "rewarded behavior" is.
                                    Use a lunge whip to direct position but I'd not start off by whacking him when he doesn't get there fast enough ...
                                    Examine your own position - are you inadvertantly cueing him to stay with you rather than moving out?
                                    Are you using a halter, bridle or lunge cavesson? if he's that smart (but uneducated), giving him different gear for different jobs may help with clarity.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Thanks for all the responses! I will post some pictures for you guys. All I have right now is from when I first got him, he looks much better now. I made this album public, but let me know if you all can't see it!

                                      https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...3655.629688378

                                      He does always want to face me on the lunge or in a turn out situation, that is right on. He already ground drives so I think that is a great start, that;s how we taught rein aids! He is very sound (per vet) and working in an arena with great footing. He does hear, he always has one on me one forward when we ride, he seems to have got his voice command for "trot" yesterday! We actually went for a short ride around the block yesterday with a group and he was very happy to lead out, to follow, walk away from the group and stand while they walked away from us!


                                      We have another gelding, that could be this one's twin. He was another pity party we felt bad for and thought he may make a trail horse. He is the dragon some of you were talking about, a past owner was "tough" on him to punish him while on the lunge for misbehaving. (against trainers advise). Put him in the hospital with a broken arm and messed up rotator cuff. Of course instead of them putting him down or finding him a experienced home, he was sold to a kill buyer directly. His trainer wanted him, but of course was not permitted to buy him by the owner. The kill buyer sold him to a children's summer camp. Long story short, a successful jumper showing on a very competitive circuit (past owner will not tell us what shows, who the trainer was ect.) to a beat up, nasty as sin walking skeleton because of the humans he met along the way. Today he is my fathers trail horse and the get on great, but the situation taught me quite a bit...

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        [QUOTE=Kryswyn;5726702]I also would be thinking of either keeping him because he sounds like the horse of a lifetime.

                                        I am blessed to be able to say he could be my 4th horse of a lifetime. All of which were slaughter bound or in serious risk. My first pony, an elderly imported (and branded) dutch WB mare trained to at least 4th level, and the dark mare in the album with the paint gelding. The dark mare is still with me and still showing, she has found her forever home. The others passed on while I still owned them (pony at 45+, wb mare at 25+). I just love working with "trouble" horses, although I normally lesson on my trainers school horses to learn new skills and improve my riding.

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