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Lungeing can be a very effective tool to use with your horse or a very ineffective tool – all depends on how you do it and why you do it! Lungeing just for the sake of wearing your horse out and making him tired doesn’t do much good and you will be walking in circles for a long time to actually accomplish your goal here. On the other hand, lungeing to get your horses attention, get him focused and listening to you can be very good at calming your horse before riding, or you can use it to help your horses fitness and teach him to engage his hind legs. Just click play below to learn the difference!

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4 Responses

  1. My horse by nature is fast, too fast for a novice of 66 yrs of age. When I put her in the round pen, she automatically starts running around the pen without me asking anything of her. It’s as though she knows exactly what is expected of her. I was told, since I’m trying to slow her down, to let her run “the fresh” out of her before I ride. She does respond to me asking her to change direction or stop. What can I do to slow her down and do I do the exercises in your video even though she is familiar with lunging?
    Your videos are fantastic and easy to understand, thank you so very very much!!!!

    1. Hi Fran, Thanks for asking this question – its a good one but not easy to answer in a paragraph. First off, the fact that your horse takes off running in the round pen is a bad sign. She is probably stressed out and thinks the round pen just means being chased. She should be able to walk into the round pen and stand quietly with you, not run away. If your horse gets plenty of turnout, then she doesn’t need to run around the pen. Here is a good clue to what the running means… does she look like she is playing, light on her feet, bucking a little out of exuberance, and calming down when she stops.. or is she “digging in” and really running? Can you see stress or fear in her eye or tightness around her face? If so, then the running isn’t physical exuberance, its mental worry and instability. You want to be able to teach your mare to be calm with you, both in the round pen and on the lunge line, because being calm before the ride is what sets the tone for a calm ride. Running and being wound up sets the tone for being wound up under saddle as well. I may try to make a video to help address this, but here is the best thing I can explain to you – when you turn your horse loose in the round pen, claim a quarter or half of the pen as “yours”. You don’t chase her, but she isn’t allowed to come into your space. Use a long lunge whip and defend your space. This prevents your mare from running the mad circles around the pen and makes her stop and take notice of you, but by not chasing after her, you don’t increase her anxiety. Every time she looks at you, smile and extend your hand as invitation to approach. Start teaching her that the round pen means hanging out with you not running. Like I said in the beginning, this question opens a whole can of worms that isn’t easy to answer. If you want to go deeper on round pen strategies, look at this review I did on a DVD from another trainer that I learned about round pen from and highly recommend. Here is the link: http://www.happyhorsereviews.com/tao-of-equus-round-penning-approach-dvd-review/

      1. Hi Callie,
        Thank you!
        In response, I have to tell you she doesn’t seem to be stressed or fearful at all. I think she was trained that way. Her last owner was a barrel racer and had one thing in mind……run fast.
        Sometimes she’ll stand with me in the center until I ask something of her and other times she’ll prepare herself for what she knows I’m going to ask. Sometimes she’ll canter and, excuse me for saying, “fart” then buck (not sure what comes first). I thought she was just feeling good.
        What I did do with her just yesterday is, lunge her in the way you instructed in your video, in the arena, on a short lunge line and had her walk slow. We did very well. It made so much sense to me not to have a running around in the round pen.
        I can’t tell you how much your videos mean to me. I feel I ‘ve grown so much in such a short time.
        Thank you so much and if my Princess could talk, she’d say thank you too!!

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