Monday, February 15, 2010

For Paigeley

Here was a question she left me on the last post...

trainer x i have a question about lunging
we have a roundpen at my barn so i usually lunge in there without a lunge line. my horse continually cuts the circle and stops. when she stops if i get close she tries to kick my head. I've had a couple of close calls with that one. when she does stop i go to her side then use the lunge whip to get her moving again. When she cuts the circle nothing I've tried can get her back on the circle until she gets to the other side of the roundpen, she always cuts at the same spot in the roundpen. I've tried running towards her, whipping her over, getting really close to her on that side, none of it has worked. help please???

OK, some of you may not like the answer I'm about to give. If you don't that's fine get your damn head kicked off. Anywho moving on.

So, Paigeley, this is what you need. A halter preferably a rope halter but anything can work, a lead rope, a crop (short whip) and your lunge whip. She needs and MUST learn to respect your space.

So lesson 1. Get her the HELL out of your space!!!! Inside the round pen with her in her halter and lead rope and you holding your crop take a step towards her. If she does not move out of your space poke her with the butt end of your crop. Still no move??? Poke harder. Still no move??? Give her a nice smack. When she moves, praise and do it again. Do this from all areas. Step into her by her shoulders, from her front facing head on and the hind quarters. She MUST yield to you when you move at her.

Lesson 2. This is the one that can be tougher. Still in her halter and lead rope begin to lunge her, while your holding the lead rope and your lunge whip. When and if she stops attempt to use the lunge whip to encourage her to move on. If she won't and she begins to charge or kick at you, You have every right to kick her ASS. OK, here is an example. Your lunging to the right and she stops and turns into you, you are holding the lead rope with your right hand and the lunge whip in your left. Start hitting the ground on the left side (your left cause she's facing you, her right) if she doesn't move hit the ground harder, if that doesn't get her moving then start hitting her in the rump and side to get her to move away from it and moving on in her circle again. IF and this is a huge if, she dares to charge or kick out at you, smack her in the sides and rump with your lunge whip until she moves on again in her circle. If she charges you swing that whip in front of you at her chest as hard as you can. If it hits her OH WELL. Charging, rearing, kicking, biting, etc. Is grounds for you to kick some serious ass!!!! Once she backs off of you, begin again calmly. Get her moving into the lunging circle, if she stops, encourage her to move with the whip and repeat the process. The reason, by the way, that you are keeping her in a halter, is because it is easier for you to control her head and hopefully teach her to round pen properly.

OK, now because there is not really only one way to things let's say this doesn't work. So she's lunging and she stops and turns into you, yank on your halter and back her up fast and hard and at least a quarter to half the round pen in length. If she doesn't want to move forward then we'll make her move backwards, either way she's going to learn to that she is going to move come hell or highwater. After you've backed her up ask her to move on again if she stops, repeat. The idea is to make the wrong thing 100 times more difficult than the right thing. Horses hate backing up, going forward is much easier, but sometimes your horse needs to make that connection in it's own head.

OK, always start at the walk and when she lunges correctly at the walk then ask for the trot and etc. both ways. Once she is doing well on the lead rope, use a lunge line and then nothing, just the normal round pen. IF she goes back to her old ways, use the lead rope again. She HAS to know you mean business and kicking is a huge NO NO!! I hope some of this helps. Let me know how it goes and if you need anything else. If this doesn't work, I've got more tricks up my sleeve. LOL

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chase Me

So I started giving lessons to this young girl and typically what I like to do first is watch my student work their horse as they do every day. So I can see where they're at and where their horse is at. A mini evaluation so to speak.

So she begins to lunge her horse and I notice that she is chasing him around the lunge line, to the point where she is RUNNING literally all over the arena. I ask her what she's doing and she says that she went to a Big name Trainer Clinic and he said that when lunging you need to move as fast as your horse. Ummmmm no.

That's a big, huge, fatty no no. You should NOT have to work harder than your horse when lunging it. The horse should be respectful and NOT tug on your hands when lunging and should be just fine lunging in a set circle. Lunging is one of those things that should still be work for the horse, but not as much for you. Lunging is not to let your horse run bat shit crazy in circles. It should be controlled and productive. If your horse gives out a buck or two, no biggie, but then bring them back down to earth and back to work. Running after your horse is not doing a darn thing, except wearing you out and your horse isn't learning anything either, ESPECIALLY to respect you.

She was surprised when I took out one of the younger training horses I'm working with and had him lunging on a nice quiet circle, listening to all my commands appropriately. She couldn't believe you could lunge a horse that way. *Headdesk* which brings me to another little side point.

Use common sense. Would you chase your darn horse around while lunging, completely exhausting yourself and leaving your horse, ignoring you and probably laughing at you? No. So use your gut instincts or feel free to explore other successful trainer's techniques. Or if you like running around a deep sandy arena, well then have fun....