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 The Beginning Rider
 Lunging questions
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lil bit
Groomer

USA
46 Posts

Posted - 02/14/2006 :  12:53:34 PM  Show Profile  Visit lil bit's Homepage Send lil bit a Private Message
Hello,okay i have been lurking and hearing about ground work and how important it is and needs to be done. So i went to the tack store and bought a 20' lunge rope. I do not have a round pen yet, so i need any and all pointers on how to do this? And how to do this without a round pen but in a pasture.?? We put the harness on and attached the lunge rope but he will not walk in a circle but just walks up to us. HELP?? His previous owner said that he has been lunged before in a round pen (of course). Things have got to be the more complicated way when its dealing with me.

lil bit

Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 02/14/2006 :  1:25:30 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
Most horses lunge easier to the left than to the right, but they should be worked equally in both directions. This would put the left side of the horse toward you once the horse is working on the end of the lunge line. Once you have led him to the place where you're going to work him, tug on his halter and urge him to move away from you. I use a clucking sound to move my horses out onto the lunge. It's the same cue I use to load them into the trailer. They know it means to go forward when I don't move with them. If he still refuses to move forward, stand facing his side and tap him either with the lunge line or a lunge whip on his rear, and feed out the line as he walks away from you. If he's reluctant to leave you, keep the lunge short and walk to one side of the horse but closer to his rear than his head. Do not walk up to his rear or behind him. That would be a prime location to get kicked if the horse was inclined to do it. This is why a lunge whip works well for this. You can touch him without putting yourself within kicking range.

Remember; when lunging and when you are standing in the middle of the circle, step to the side so you are more even and across from his hips to move him forward. Moving toward his head will slow him down or make him stop. Sometimes, it'll even make him reverse depending on how close you are to him and how far you are ahead of his head.

I'd try walking in a circle with you walking a smaller circle than the horse. Then slowly let him get farther away from you as you let out more line and continue walking your smaller circle inside his larger one. Keep him going as I've outlined above and try to stay more in one spot as he gets closer to the end of the line, and he should be more willing to work for you.

Be careful at the faster gaits when you are lunging in a more open area. If he takes it in his head to run in a straight line instead of on the circle, he could drag you if you don't let go... and by all means if he does that, just let him go. Once he stops, you can bring him back and start over. If you continue to have problems, I'd put a chain under his chin to give you something a little more severe to control him. Just start slowly, gradually and don't get into too big of a rush at the faster gaits .

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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hmeyer
Clinician



USA
2194 Posts

Posted - 02/14/2006 :  2:02:09 PM  Show Profile Send hmeyer a Private Message
Very good, Red Hawk! I was trying to figure out a way to explain this without being able to show it.

One other technique to use in conjunction with this is called "directing and driving". If you want the horse to go to the left, for instance, hold the lunge line in your left hand with the tail end in your right hand. Then with your left hand holding the rope, point to the left with your arm extended. Then with your right hand, twirl the end of the rope overhand at his hip. In this case, your left hand is "directing" him which way to go, and your right hand is "driving" him at the hip. To reverse direction, raise your left hand high, switch the rope to the right hand, point to the right to direct him and now drive him at the hip with the left hand. This change of direction will take practice for both you and the horse to get him to come around light on his front end. As soon as the horse moves off at the desired speed, take away the pressure of the driving hand. If he slows, or if you want to speed him up, apply more pressure with the driving hand. Be very clear with your "directing" hand (big point at arms length) until he gets the idea of where you want him to go, then you can relax it a little. With this technique, you can even direct and drive him in figure-8's around barrels, over obstacles, through gates and doorways, etc. If he tries to come in on you with his shoulder, drive him back away at the shoulder, even to the point of giving him a smack on the shoulder with the end of the rope. Don't let him run over you.

"You learn a thing a day, you store up smart" - Festus Haggen

"A manís soul canít be hidden,
From the creatures in his care." -
Hard Candy Cowboy by Debra Meyer


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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 02/14/2006 :  2:16:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
With an older horse that I don't know if they longe well or not I start out with a halter and longe line. I prefer one that is at least 25 feet but 35 feet is better. 20 should be fine to get you started.

I start out small because some horses get worried about being to far from you. So I do some light ground work and then get them walking forward. If going to the left I have the line in my left hand and the whip in the right. You can use a halter whip, or even just the end of the line at this point because the horse is close to you. Walking the horse forward I'll turn and face the hip and drive the horse forward so that I drift back into the right spot. You need to be behind the withers to drive forward. Ahead of the withers is to slow down. As the horse gets the hang of going in a circle around you you can "wave" the line as a cue to move out and say "OUT". Go slowly don't push him out to the end of the line right away. I also teach "IN" with a light tug on the line and me taking up slack as a cue to move in and make the circle smaller. If you do a lot of that they get more trusting of being out on the line.

With a horse that has never longed before and with babies I start out walking a straight line with the line and whip in the hands you use to longe. I walk to a point and then drive the horse around in a half cirlce. Walk straight and then another half circle so it comes out as a big oval shape. The babies' joints can't handle too much circle work so this gets them started without stressing joints or stressing the mentally out on a line far away from me.

How close is too close? I work with about 3-6 feet of line BUT if a horse is being a brat that is far to close. I don't just put them out farther but work on getting them to behave and then going back to it.

Also the first thing you should do is get him use to the whip or end of the line so that he doesn't get spooky about it.
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fracturedbones
Clinician



3424 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2006 :  1:41:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit fracturedbones's Homepage Send fracturedbones a Private Message
No expert like the others...but important that the horse is sacked out with the whip/sound/feel BEFORE you start lunging him...especially on a line so he won't freak out and run off to parts unknown...dragging you behind!!
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Boots
Beginning Rider



USA
72 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2006 :  9:46:16 PM  Show Profile  Visit Boots's Homepage Send Boots a Private Message
Several good suggestions here, lil bit. How's it going?

Boots

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I learn. Ė Ben Franklin
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Truth is not determined by a majority vote.
- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
(Now Pope Benedict XVI)

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lil bit
Groomer

USA
46 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2006 :  08:45:58 AM  Show Profile  Visit lil bit's Homepage Send lil bit a Private Message
Hi. I think i need to get a lunge whip. I tried the suggestions yesterday. I got him to go in circles for a little while. Not as long as i would have liked but we did make some progress. Am going back to the tack shop to get whip today. Thanks for all the help . Will keep yall posted.

lil bit
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