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Horse. Won't. Lunge. :(

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  • Horse. Won't. Lunge. :(

    Let me start off by saying that I'm not a beginner rider, and have lunged many a horse in my day, but I cannot get my horse to lunge. He either stands there staring at me, refusing to budge, OR he completely BLOWS up and goes rodeo on me, and when this happens, after he finishes pitching his bucking fit, he'll take off galloping away, snatching the line out of my hands. If I do manage to get him going, he'll make about a half a circle, and then will immediately want to "join-up" or whatever you want to call it, to get out of doing any work. He's very smart, and very lazy. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    My horse used to be a bit like that. Lunge on a circle no bigger than your lunge whip to start. If he stops, hit him with the whip. He isn't confused, he's being rude and avoiding work. I'm pretty patient with my sensitive guy, but stopping gets his ass beat untill he starts forward again, no questions asked. I don't care how fast he goes, but he damn well needs to move his feet. Stopping and facing you is (IMO) about the rudest thing they can do (if they are not genuinly confused) It's the horse equivalent of eff you.

    Make him walk, even if it's in a circle 5 feet across with you in the midde. Not a slow balking walk, but a I-said-forward walk. If he takes off, that's why he's on a short line. Push his butt OUT with the whip and pull his head IN with the whip, but DO NOT let him stop. He can't take off if you keep him on a small circle and don't let him get his nose turned away from you.

    Once he will walk in a small circle, try gradually increasing the distance, but never further than you can quickly gain control. If you ask for a trot, use a short line and just move a bit so he has a large enough circumference to trot but is never far away. Same rules apply for the trot. Stopping is NOT allowed. Facing you is NOT allowed. Bolting is NOT allowed.

    Be consistent and be FIRM. It sounds like he knows what is expected and is just being rude.
    .

    Comment


    • #3
      We've just experienced this with one of Cyriz's kids. He thinks lunging is stupid. According to my trainer's trainer trainer (got that??? LOL), about 10-15% of all warmbloods don't lunge...or at least not when they are just getting starting. My guy is fine under saddle, just thinks lunging is for the birds, so we're not going to worry about. At some point in the future, he may understand or be willing to tolerate it, but we've decided to not go looking for a fight.

      I guess for me, it would be an issue of why the horse is being lunged. Too fresh to ride without it, training, etc.
      www.debracysporthorses.com
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      • #4
        I'm of the opinion that all horses should know how to lunge. It's an easy way to teach them new concepts without adding rider weight, you can check for lameness, and you can work off some snort if needed.

        So, with Mr. Won't Lunge, here is what I'd do.

        He'd be outfitted either with a chain over his nose, or a bit in his mouth. If he has a chain, make sure it runs through the nose rings and attaches to the cheek ring, crossing under his head. That way it won't hit him in the eye when he blows. If you a bit in his mouth, run the lungeline over his head. Personally, I'd go with the chain, but I hate to pull on their mouth with anything.

        Then, keeping the circle small enough that I can reach the horse with the whip (10 meters or so), I'd send him out. If he goes, great. If he stands there staring at you, tap him on the butt cheeks with the whip, getting progressively harder until he goes. Then stop tapping. Sometimes you have to get pretty aggressive with that "tapping". If he stops, start over. He gets one command to walk on, then he gets tapped. When he blows, I immediatly drop the whip and clench down on that lead rope with both hands, and whip him in towards you with as much force as you need to stop the bucking beast. I usually yell loudly and basically make him think that I am going to kill him until he quits. Somehow, we generally end up backing up very fast with me yelling and jerking the lunge rope just enough to keep his attention. After about 10-15 seconds of this, I stop, and start asking for the lunging again, calmly. The big thing here is DON'T GET MAD! You have to be calm, punish what needs punished, and push what needs pushed, then move on. When I get a circle each way of calm walking, then I quit for the day.

        Rinse and repeat until your horse understands that you mean what you say, and bucking when being handled is not acceptable. Ever. Slowly increase time and speed and distance from you. If he reverts to bad behavior, go back a step and start over. He'll get it. Sounds like he might be too smart for his own good.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
          My horse used to be a bit like that. Lunge on a circle no bigger than your lunge whip to start. If he stops, hit him with the whip. He isn't confused, he's being rude and avoiding work. I'm pretty patient with my sensitive guy, but stopping gets his ass beat untill he starts forward again, no questions asked. I don't care how fast he goes, but he damn well needs to move his feet. Stopping and facing you is (IMO) about the rudest thing they can do (if they are not genuinly confused) It's the horse equivalent of eff you.

          Make him walk, even if it's in a circle 5 feet across with you in the midde. Not a slow balking walk, but a I-said-forward walk. If he takes off, that's why he's on a short line. Push his butt OUT with the whip and pull his head IN with the whip, but DO NOT let him stop. He can't take off if you keep him on a small circle and don't let him get his nose turned away from you.

          Once he will walk in a small circle, try gradually increasing the distance, but never further than you can quickly gain control. If you ask for a trot, use a short line and just move a bit so he has a large enough circumference to trot but is never far away. Same rules apply for the trot. Stopping is NOT allowed. Facing you is NOT allowed. Bolting is NOT allowed.

          Be consistent and be FIRM. It sounds like he knows what is expected and is just being rude.
          Trust me, you hit the the nail on the head when you said, "It sounds like he knows what is expected and is just being rude." He is an older, very broke horse, he's just L-A-Z-Y and really smart. Ive tried all that you described. If I even remotely touch him with the whip, he blows up. And I'm really tired of having the lunge line snatched out of my hands... major blisters!! When all 1200 lbs of him goes ape-sh*t, there is NO stopping him. I've tried larger circles. If I can manage to get him actually moving his feet, he takes two steps, and then turns and comes at me, "Mama I luvs you, me come stand next to you and lick my lips, so me not have to do nuthin', me luvs you Mama, yes me do, I just stand here and do nuthin'." Then when I say, "NO! Move those feet!" He turns in Mr.Hyde, "eff you b-yotch! how about I blister those hands for ya?"

          Originally posted by cyriz's mom View Post
          We've just experienced this with one of Cyriz's kids. He thinks lunging is stupid. According to my trainer's trainer trainer (got that??? LOL), about 10-15% of all warmbloods don't lunge...or at least not when they are just getting starting. My guy is fine under saddle, just thinks lunging is for the birds, so we're not going to worry about. At some point in the future, he may understand or be willing to tolerate it, but we've decided to not go looking for a fight.

          I guess for me, it would be an issue of why the horse is being lunged. Too fresh to ride without it, training, etc.
          Hahaha... Willy apparently thinks lunging is stupid too! He needs to lunge, my vet told me the other day to lunge him everyday! He NEEDS the exercise. He's fat and lazy. I have a broken foot, and can't ride. I'm in a walking bootie, and can lunge though. And in my situation, even if my foot wasn't broken, I still could really get more exercise out of him by lunging, than riding. Besides, this is not a battle I want him winning.

          Originally posted by Arrows Endure View Post
          I'm of the opinion that all horses should know how to lunge. It's an easy way to teach them new concepts without adding rider weight, you can check for lameness, and you can work off some snort if needed.

          So, with Mr. Won't Lunge, here is what I'd do.

          He'd be outfitted either with a chain over his nose, or a bit in his mouth. If he has a chain, make sure it runs through the nose rings and attaches to the cheek ring, crossing under his head. That way it won't hit him in the eye when he blows. If you a bit in his mouth, run the lungeline over his head. Personally, I'd go with the chain, but I hate to pull on their mouth with anything.

          Then, keeping the circle small enough that I can reach the horse with the whip (10 meters or so), I'd send him out. If he goes, great. If he stands there staring at you, tap him on the butt cheeks with the whip, getting progressively harder until he goes. Then stop tapping. Sometimes you have to get pretty aggressive with that "tapping". If he stops, start over. He gets one command to walk on, then he gets tapped. When he blows, I immediatly drop the whip and clench down on that lead rope with both hands, and whip him in towards you with as much force as you need to stop the bucking beast. I usually yell loudly and basically make him think that I am going to kill him until he quits. Somehow, we generally end up backing up very fast with me yelling and jerking the lunge rope just enough to keep his attention. After about 10-15 seconds of this, I stop, and start asking for the lunging again, calmly. The big thing here is DON'T GET MAD! You have to be calm, punish what needs punished, and push what needs pushed, then move on. When I get a circle each way of calm walking, then I quit for the day.

          Rinse and repeat until your horse understands that you mean what you say, and bucking when being handled is not acceptable. Ever. Slowly increase time and speed and distance from you. If he reverts to bad behavior, go back a step and start over. He'll get it. Sounds like he might be too smart for his own good.
          LOL... I've been told before that he's too smart for MY own good! He will move at the whip, I wouldn't be able to touch him with it, he'd pitch a fit before I could ever touch him with it. He just wants to pitch temper trantrums like a 2 yr old toddler, and get out of doing any work... He is very disrespectful... ITS THE SAME WAY WHEN IT COMES TO TRAILER LOADING. He acts like a brat!!!!! I have tried lunging in a bridle/bit before, and I attached the lead line like a gag (someone else recommended that). He still blew up, but didn't get too far... it also looked like it scared him, and hurt his mouth. I didn't try it again, as I didn't want to create any more problems.

          I'm really at my wits end here. My last resort is to build a round pen (I figured out I could build a permanent structure cheaper than I could buy one), but a.) My husband is going to fuss, and if I can actually talk him into doing it, I'll end up owing him big-time... b.) Its going to take up a lot of my available space. Besides, he needs the exercise, way before one could be built.

          Comment


          • #6
            If you use a chain over his nose and use literally 4-5 feet of line, he shouldn't be able to get away. It's not muscle, it's how you use it. Push his butt out and pull his head in. He can't bolt if you do it right.

            If you can afford it, have you considered getting a trainer to help?
            .

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              I've tried pushing his butt out. It only results in him coming towards me. I have talked to two trainers, but the problem is I live in the middle of nowhere, and getting them to be able to work me into their busy schedules.

              Comment


              • #8
                Not sure it's worth it ... just sayin ... a trainer might help, though.

                My (now 30 year old, retired) horse, King, would not lunge. He HATED it. Don't know why, never found out. I got a trainer to help me, because I figured I must have been doing it wrong. King turned and ran her down -- and out of the arena. That gal jumped the fence so fast it would make your head spin!

                He was a saint under saddle, carried my sorry arse over hundreds of fences and quite literally saved my life.

                I never did lunge him.

                Comment


                • #9
                  First of all he's not been taught to lead if he won't lunge and he won't trailer load. And he's being disrespectful of your control. AND he hasn't been properly introduced to a whip if he blows up simply over being touched with it. He needs to go back to ground school basics, be totally sacked out with all kinds of things INCLUDING the lunge whip....things like tarps, saddle pads, balloons, umbrellas, pool noodles...anything you can think of. He needs to know how to give to pressure to move both shoulders over (away from you) and hip over (also away from you)...with nothing more than a pointed finger or a LOOK. He also needs to learn a "go forward" cue.....this can be anything you want it to be but one of my favorites is a light tap on the top of the croup....for the count of four or five times and then slightly firmer, same location, same number of times and the, if no movement, firmer still...think of it as Chinese water torture...lightest possible cue first and then firmer and firmer until he even leans forward....stop instantly and reward the thought...the action will follow as he figures out moving means you stop tapping. I had one stubborn fellow (he'd gotten away with spinning and running off and a bunch of other crap for a year) that took about two hours to get that first forward step. I did have a stud chain over his nose at the end of the lunge line and had him on a short amount of the line....when he tried to whip his head to the right, lay the lunge line against his neck and run off I dropped the whip and grabbed line with both hands, stepped quickly to his left and forward to get the line off of his neck and yanked back hard....got his nose back to the left and waited to see what he'd do...surprized the snot out of him....got the funniest look..."HOW did you do THAT?". He tried twice more and got the same result and quit. We went back to where we started and I started tapping again and guess what?....that sucker stepped forward like he'd been doing it all his life. Had the same general discussion over trailer loading except I added in the "work out here, rest over there" with "here" being behind or to either side of the trailer and "there" being at the step up or inside...smart horse figured that out in about 15 minutes and loaded up every time after that lesson. Forget riding him....if he's disrespectful and disobedient on the ground it will show up under saddle eventually...fix it while on the ground and riding will go much smoother in the future. Don't get mad...just figure out what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, what you want him to do, how to reward him when he makes even the slightest try (and be sure you can recognize a small try on his part), what small goals you want to achieve on the way to the big one....and then go do it....calmly and quietly and consistantly and firmly.
                  Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                  www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
                  Northern NV

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'd put a surcingle on him, with 2 longe lines attached on either side of the bit and run through the rings on the side close to the top, and with the ouside line coming over his back and use the lines as reins to keep him from turning in.

                    If you can, use a round pen or end of an arena or pasture and block off the other side with jump poles/standards.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The Arabian gelding I grew up with (had him from age 6 to 33) would not longe. He had excellent manners on the ground, under saddle and in harness and was an absolute baby sitter his whole life. But, put him on a longe line with a lash whip in your hand and he would come at you pretty seriously. He just wasn't putting up with that nonsense.
                      Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Put the horse on a diet, cut his feed, put him in a dry lot -limit his grass to 8-12 hours a day.
                        If this horse is too smart for his own good, he knows you are at a disadvantage in a walking boot. Are you not doing more damage, being jerked around by this horse, to your broken foot?

                        Perhaps this horse needs to be on vacation until you are a 100% able to deal with all his issues or get a new home for him and get a safer more reliable horse for you.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I had a TB mare like this and she knew exactly what she could get away with. At the time my back was pretty bad so I couldn't move across the ground very quickly. After my back surgery I took that mare and put her in a 50' round pen and we came to terms.

                          It was not pretty and once she knew I meant business and could move across the ground to correct her, it was over. She now lunges very well outside of the roundpen

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Do you have a smallish arena or paddock?

                            I would probably be tempted to ask him politely, and if he wanted to act an idiot "free longe" him in a paddock or arena until he was good and tired and pleased to longe on a line with manners.

                            He is giving you a giant "eff you" but if you don't have a space or the poundage to control him, he's just going to keep getting his way.

                            BUT -- you are better off not touching him than working with him and letting him win over and over again. Without the proper tools it will be an uphill battle quite probably not worth beginning. Build a round pen, put him in a paddock, or leave him alone until you can.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Watch Wee Willy View Post
                              I've tried pushing his butt out. It only results in him coming towards me. .
                              Wait, why would you want to b=push his butt out?

                              Forgive me for the potentially dumb question, but exactly how are you asking him to lunge in the first place?
                              "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                              My CANTER blog.

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                              • #16
                                There is a problem if he is able to rip the lungline out of your hands. Wear gloves, keep him on a smaller circle and when he goes nuts just keep making him go forward, no matter how much he is bucking. Eventually he'll get it that it is easier to just go nicely forward rather than fling himself around in the air. As others suggested, do this in a smaller area or arena. If he just starts running in one direction, follow but give a sharp yank to bring his head in so he keeps sort of going in a circle. It is sort of like if you are on a horse that decides he is going to throw a fit instead of doing something. You sit tight and MAKE them work. They are smart, and if he is lazy, he'll quickly find that just going is easier.
                                "I'm too sexy for my blanket, too sexy for my blanket, these mares-they should take it..." (J-Lu) - Featuring The Skypizzle Pony aka Classic Skyline

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Hawks Nest View Post
                                  There is a problem if he is able to rip the lungline out of your hands. Wear gloves, keep him on a smaller circle and when he goes nuts just keep making him go forward, no matter how much he is bucking. Eventually he'll get it that it is easier to just go nicely forward rather than fling himself around in the air. As others suggested, do this in a smaller area or arena. If he just starts running in one direction, follow but give a sharp yank to bring his head in so he keeps sort of going in a circle. It is sort of like if you are on a horse that decides he is going to throw a fit instead of doing something. You sit tight and MAKE them work. They are smart, and if he is lazy, he'll quickly find that just going is easier.
                                  I agree with this. This is what I did with my little Tb who would stop and face me, and then rear if I insisted. I just put my foot down, put gloves on, used a longe whip, and did as suggested above. It didn't take that long for her to realize what was in her best interest. I also always longed her with a bridle on (longe line going through the bit, over the poll and attached to the bit on the other side) and boots on her legs.
                                  Now she has perfect longing manners, she'll stop square on the circle, she'll obey voice cues, etc. etc.

                                  I think you should get help from someone more experienced than you because this problem could snowball into much bigger problems as it is a matter of respect and obedience.
                                  Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Like Aretha Franklin said: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
                                    You're going to have to get it first. Maybe have someone help you with him, because horses sure can figure out your weak points in a hurry, and sometimes the only way out is to have a new person come in and derail it.
                                    Unless there's a physical reason why this horse won't do as you ask, there's no reason he can't respond to what you want him to do.
                                    Stupid question, but he has been taught to lounge, right?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      GLOVES! Always wear good leather gloves to lunge. I would suggest you get help - I know you said it is not easy, but really it should only take one or 2 sessions to get him going. Another thing is you caould get someone to ride him while you lunge (as long as he won't launch the rider!) - this will help you to at least get him going forward.

                                      I HATE to lunge a horse, but it is a good skill for you and the horse to have. Im ny case my trainer is helping a lot as my big Irish Draught used to intimidate me on the lunge (coming in off the circle, bolting etc.). My guy is now an angel on the lunge.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        My horse started nearly exactly this way when we taught him to longe; he is also incredibly smart and incredibly lazy.

                                        A few additional suggestions:

                                        1) Try the Pony Club method of teaching longeing - start with leading him, then leading him from a few steps away, then from the end of the lead rope, and keep expanding your distance from him, all the while firmly installing the go and whoa buttons verbally AND with body language. Over and over and over again. You might try using a dressage or an in-hand whip when you're close up to get him used to the idea of a whip pointed at his butt.

                                        2) Have a spotter when you longe him. We started my horse in an indoor, on a circle that was half the arena; he spent a while bolting for the open space. My trainer stood in that open space with either a longe whip of her own, or in some dire moments, a handful of arena dirt to keep him on the straight and narrow.

                                        3) Never, never, never, never, never longe without good, thick gloves. Similarly, never ever get yourself in a situation where the longe line might possibly in some way wrap around your hand when your horse takes off. Ask me how I know...

                                        4) This one is dicey, but depending on how confident you are using them and how he reacts in the initial few minutes, you might try long lining him instead of longeing him. You'll need a surcingle and long lines to do it properly, but it can really be a help for the horse that doesn't want to listen when he's too far away / too unattached to you to really have to mind. Long lines can establish more direct communication. They can also be very dangerous very quickly if your horse really is losing it, so buyer beware.
                                        life + horses
                                        beljoeor.blogspot.com

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