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Lunging discipline?

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  • Lunging discipline?

    Okay dumb question I guess but have to ask. My 4 year old Haffy has always been a gentleman to lunge. Seems he has hit a teen rebellious stage and now he is being naughty. He breaks into a bucking canter when just asked to walk the first time. Has tried turning into me and trying to reverse, etc. He usually settles but will throw in a defiant buck or turn in here and there. This is new behavior. So question is what action do I take to make him aware that I won't put up with these shenanigans? I tell him to cut it out and point lunge whip at him when he tries to turn in,etc but I have never really dealt with a sweetie turned brat on the lunge. I only lunge him occassionly when I don't have time to ride just to keep him in shape, not endless lunging for no reason.

    Under saddle he has tried a few defiant acts but a quick tap of the crop on his butt and he falls right back in line.

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    If you are not already, make sure you longe him dressed for work - meaning put a bridle on him, a surcingle and properly adjusted side reins, or a pessoa rig (or similar.)

    You also want to be very aware of where your body is in relation to the horse when you have one on the longe. If the horse is in the gait you want, your body should remain in line with the center of the animal's body; moving forward so you are ahead of their shoulder will slow them down, while moving back so you are behind the midline will drive them forward.

    Start off on a small enough circle that you can control the forward motion 100%. You might think about doing some in hand work (on a shank instead of the longe) if you feel that the horse is not being respectful of your space at first.

    Also, make sure that you have taught the proper cues for walk, trot, canter and whoa. Not saying you haven't - but there are plenty of people who just throw a halter on a horse to longe it, and either snap their whip or toss some footing at the horse to get it "to go," then haul on the line to make it stop.

    Definitely nip any defiant/disrespectful behavior in the bud, especially with a young horse. They get probably 23 hours a day to do as they please; for the short time we ask them to work, they need to learn that they are to focus on the rider/handler.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina

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    • #3
      I have two theories....one being that as he is only 4 is this his first time being this fit and thus is feeling well in himself and testing the boundaries OR is it a pain response due to a growth spurt, minor tweak etc Or does he just need a little break. How much work has he done? I would be giving him the benefit of doubt....get a check over and if that throws up nothing and you don't feel he needs a break then a bit of a tough love boot camp to re-establish who the top dog is may be in order starting with some inhand work inhand laterals etc and progressing to the same level of discipline on the lunge

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      • #4
        I would also keep him on a close enough circle to be able to almost be able to touch him with the end of the whip. If he is being good on the smaller circle, then let him go out for a few steps, bring him back in etc. until he understands clearly what is acceptable and what is not. I'm not saying to lunge-walk trot canter on a tiny circle, but do your slow work on a small circle until he gets the message.
        Ryu Equestrian & Facebook Page
        Breeding Horses Today, for the Equestrian Sport of Tomorrow.
        Osteen & Gainesville, Florida.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thank you all for the responses. I am pretty sure there is no pain as he goes under saddle just fine, only two times where he tried to be a little "assertive." Seems the defiance is related to the lunge. He is just getting fit as we gave him a lot of time off over the summer, he was filling out and when we got him @ 2 he had already had a lot of training as he was shown in hand and driving as a 2 year old. I think he is just "feeling great" and naughty. I guess I was looking for what does not exist: a way to convey, "NO you are not allowed to do that on the lunge!"

          As I said he is very respectful of the slightest discplinary tone or tap of crop under saddle. I think the back to basics and getting him to give respect is a great way to go, simple enough. I feel like a mom with a wonderful son who just turned into a difficult teenager. I know "anthropomorphizing" whatever that word is LOL.
          Thanks!!!!

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          • #6
            I think its winter and he sounds fresh :-)

            Even if he is getting tons of turnout, perhaps he doesnt play outside if the footing isnt good - or hes too busy eating. Either way try turning him loose in the indoor to let him get a few bucks out. Then work him a bit on the lunge and use the tactics listed above to assert yourself. :-)
            Dina
            www.threewishesfarm.com
            www.fairharbourfarm.com
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            • Original Poster

              #7
              He is definitely fresh. We are in Florida and just recently finally got less oppressive heat, so of course not unusual he is feeling good. He was gelded late and despite our efforts have not found a way to turn him out successfully with anyone. He mounts the mares and goes to attack the geldings. He is 14.2 and a 17h WB gelding backed down to him. I guess that is my worry I want him to remember I am the one in charge. Under saddle yes but on the lunge not so much just lately. (about 3-4 times of this naughty crap)

              I guess maybe the answer is he needs to get those bucks and naughty stuff out. But not to let it get the best of me. Otherwise he is truly a wonderful horse.
              Last edited by bizbachfan; Dec. 19, 2011, 01:40 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by bizbachfan View Post
                He is definitely fresh. We are in Florida and just recently finally got less oppressive heat, so off course not unusual he is feeling good. He was gelded late and despite our efforts have not found a way to turn him out successfully with anyone. He mounts the mares and goes to attack the geldings. He is 14.2 and a 17h WB gelding backed down to him. I guess that is my worry I want him to remember I am the one in charge. Under saddle yes but on the lunge not so much just lately. (about 3-4 times of this naughty crap)

                I guess maybe the answer is he needs to get those bucks and naughty stuff out. But not to let it get the best of me. Otherwise he is truly a wonderful horse.
                Put him on Depo to get rid of the studdy behaviour. It works wonderfully, but is expensive. It is used on rapists as a chemical castration, so the stuff works.

                As for the behaviour on the lunge, I love the idea of turning him loose to run off a bit of steam, but be sure that you catch him and then give him a bunch of treats, and then return to the barn to tack up. If you catch him and then put him to work on the lunge immediately, you might wind up with a horse who is very hard to catch. You don't want him to associate being caught with going right to work.

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                • #9
                  What Lucassb said. Especially all of the stuff about where your body is in relation to the horse.

                  I don't ever, ever, ever let a horse run around like a yahoo in an indoor because I think it encourages sliding stops and spins into the corners, which can cause serious injuries (mine pulled a suspensory this way). I think any horse, even a fresh young horse, can learn to be polite when handled from the ground both on a lead and lunging. I think that you really have to be "all business" about everything (hand walking, lunging, every encounter with the horse) until you get past the naughtiness.

                  When my horse was four, he was a complete a-hole. He had AT LEAST a year where there was no cuddling or allowing him to touch me with his nose or allowing him to raise his head, etc. when he was being handled. If he was at the end of a lead rope, there was a shank on the end of the rope, the shank was over his nose, and he was either walking politely or being corrected. Eventually, he was always walking politely and almost never being corrected. Now everyone always comments on how polite he is for turnout, whereas before implementing the "all business, all the time" approach, he was a rearing heathen when being led to and from the paddock.

                  Just be consistent and be disciplined. Correct him EVERY TIME he misbehaves on the lunge line. You don't have to be nasty or fly off the handle with him, but work time is work time and every sassy baby has to learn that at some point.

                  And, geez, I think giving Depo to a four year old to correct perceived "studdish" behavior is a bit extreme. That is all I have to say about that.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by toomanyponies View Post
                    I think its winter and he sounds fresh :-)

                    Even if he is getting tons of turnout, perhaps he doesnt play outside if the footing isnt good - or hes too busy eating. Either way try turning him loose in the indoor to let him get a few bucks out. Then work him a bit on the lunge and use the tactics listed above to assert yourself. :-)
                    I agree 100% with this. If he's acting like an ADD case with a sugar high, let him buck, snort, and fart it out on his own in an indoor for 10 minutes or so, then ask him to go to work on the lunge. Just make sure he's moving for those 10 minutes -- (carefully) flag him around and generate some excitement so he's apt to tear about during his "alone" time.

                    It's a bit unfair to him to expect him to be on his "A" game when his brain and energy is all over the place. Once he's burned a bit of it out on his own, he'll be much more manageable on the lunge.

                    Edit: The point of association was raised. If a good grooming session comes between the crazy time in the indoor and work time at lunge, the horse will be happy to come with without having to bribe (assuming he likes being groomed).

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