longing (not sure if i spelled that right)
Last Post 29 Aug 2007 01:19 PM by pygmysong. 6 Replies.
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ltcooneyUser is Offline
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29 Aug 2007 11:44 AM
    I have re-entered the world of horses after many, many years and am learning all over again. I have a 6yr gelding and while longing (lunging?) him goes clockwise nicely but is very reluctant to go counterclockwise. Do I just work him thru this? Thanks
    KNWsMomUser is Offline
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    29 Aug 2007 12:44 PM
    My first thought would be "Is there something physically wrong with this horse that is causing him discomfort going counterclockwise?"

    Second thought, "Is he just being a jerk and testing the limits?"

    Once you rule out physical problems, then I would agree that just working him through it is the way to go. I would start with his "good" direction and make a huge fuss over him for doing it right. Then I would probably spend longer working on his "bad" side, praising everything that he did right and being firm when he misbehaves.

    Hope that helps... and welcome back to the horse world.

    -J
    VannysMomUser is Offline
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    29 Aug 2007 12:50 PM
    You will find that most horses are stiffer on one side. Kinda like being right handed or left handed.

    He may need some stretching to loosen him up some.
    He may not be used to the work. Do you know what he's been doing prior to you getting him?
    qhallaroundUser is Offline
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    29 Aug 2007 12:57 PM
    Most horses are "handed" like humans and have a "good" side and a "weak" side. It sounds like this is most likely what is going on here in which case working him through the issues and adding in some exercises to strenghten and supple that side will help.

    Other things to think about though:
    Like the other poster said you should think about weither it might be a pain related issue (thinking possible hock, hoof, and other leg issues that would make turning painful).
    Also evaluate how you are lunging him. First, how large is your circle? (how long is your rope if you are using one). Personally, I will not lunge with a rope or in a round pen that makes less than a 30ft in radius (so you need a 30 foot rope or a 60ft wide round pen). Any smaller than this and you put a lot of stress on their joints and legs (30ft is still stressing for them, but that's my limit based on vet advice). Also make sure that you aren't "blocking" him with your body language. You should be back behind his shoulder in his flank area and looking at/driving his flank and hindquarters. If you are up at or past his shoulder you are asking him to stop and turn around, so you could be sending mixed messages.
    melia11User is Offline
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    29 Aug 2007 12:57 PM
    Duke is very reluctant on his left side as well, but once you get him going you kinda have to stay right on top of him a few laps around for him to get the picture that he's not getting out of it, then usually he cooperates well. But I too will start on his good side, and when we start on the counter clockwise circle I constantly praise him and keep clucking at him to encourage him to keep moving.
    pygmysongUser is Offline
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    29 Aug 2007 01:19 PM
    Once you rule out any pain related issues, simply work through it. Work him ALOT more on his bad side than his good side, too, so he gets the idea that he has to work on that side too, not just on the good side. Sometimes people just work a horse on their good side, simply because they don't want to fuss with the bad side; so that could be his issue too; someone has allowed him to work strictly on his good side.
    644351User is Offline
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    29 Aug 2007 01:23 PM
    Welcome back to the world of horses! Smile

    Lunging can be tricky because horses aren't the only ones that can have a better side! I would shorten his line or put him back on a lead rope and work on getting him moving forward off your positioning, lunge whip aimed at his hips/legs or tapped on his behind lightly, and lots of verbal cues. Because the line is so long the horses have to rely on visual and verbal cues to know what you expect them to do so be clear with your body and voice. Cluck and tap with whip, staying well behind his shoulder, or even further back if need-be. If he turns toward you, keep walking toward his hip. Sometimes you need alot of room for this because the horse may want to just follow you around, turning toward you. Sometimes I'll have to tap on the shoulder to get the shoulder to move away before I can expect them to go forward and around me.

    If that doesn't work then go right back to getting him to move his hip and or shoulder away by pressure from your hand - using a clucking noise or whatever as his cue. I see alot of people lifting their rein hand way up high and in front of the horse when they lunge - especially if the horse isn't cooperating. Try not to do that - a waving hand/arm can mean stop or confusion to the horse, as well.
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