How to teach canter on lunge to lazy mini

Discussion in 'Driving Miniature Horses' started by Sunny2874, Nov 3, 2019.

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  1. Nov 3, 2019 #1

    Sunny2874

    Sunny2874

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    Hi, all. I am starting (yet again) my mini gelding for driving. My plan is to start with lungeing (again) and move on to ground driving. The problem is that I can't get him to canter on lunge line. He changes direction, walks, trots, and halts from both sides. He is a very laid back guy. I mean....LAID BACK. He is 22 and I have had him since he was 2. He has been a pasture potato for his whole life and is a bit spoiled! Ok, maybe more than a bit (*blushes*).

    I have dreams of doing training level CDE events (just to finish and not to win) with him and taking him on trail drives. I want him to be comfortable cantering and stopping from the canter in case someday in harness he canters or spooks, shocking himself by breaking into a canter. His trot is also very slow but he happily plods along (slowly) with ears forward. When I free lunged him and tied a plastic bag to a crop, he would break into a normal trot with.....dare I say....impulsion and energy. I could even get him to canter. But, then I got paranoid that I was sensitizing him to plastic and worked on desensitizing him to plastic until he stopped reacting to plastic- so there went that. As a side note, we did lots of John Lyons type groundwork stuff and he definitely respects me and my space. I don't believe it is a respect issue. How can I get him to canter on lunge and is it even necessary from a safety standpoint? Thank you in advance!!!!!!
     
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  2. Nov 3, 2019 #2

    Cayuse

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    Hi! I am going to guess that the lunging circle may be too tight for him to comfortably canter on. Those small circles can put a lot of strain on joints and since your gelding is a little bit older he might be protecting himself by resisting the canter. It may be a strength issue, too. All that constant turning works muscles differently than a straight line would.
    As far as it being necessary for him to canter, I think it's fine if he doesn't. My driving gelding won't/can't canter on the lunge and he drives just fine.
     
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  3. Nov 3, 2019 #3

    Sunny2874

    Sunny2874

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    Cayuse,

    Thank you for your message! That was a really good point on the strength issue! I lunge in a John Lyons round pen that, I believe, is 60 feet in diameter. So, I don’t think the circle is too small. I will take your advice and add hill walking on trails to build strength! I just ordered him easyboots so he will be better able to handle the rocky terrain.

    I’m also happy to hear that your horse doesn’t canter on the lunge and has been fine in harness! I read that I should teach canter in case he canters in harness or spooks and then freaks out. But, it doesn’t sound like that is necessary. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond!! Thank you!
     
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  4. Nov 3, 2019 #4

    Willow Flats

    Willow Flats

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    Hi Sunny,
    You mentioned the possibility of doing training level CDE's. I don't know what the rules are there, but here at training level cantering is not allowed and you would get disqualified. I wouldn't worry about the canter at this point. :)
     
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  5. Nov 4, 2019 #5

    Sunny2874

    Sunny2874

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    Willow Flats, thank you!! I appreciate your input!
     
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  6. Nov 5, 2019 #6

    Patty's Pony Place

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    Further agreement on the points made already - and I would only add that we have never lunged a horse, period. There really is not much in it for the horse mentally - and indeed, lots of potential for harming joints.
     
  7. Nov 5, 2019 #7

    Sunny2874

    Sunny2874

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    Hi, Patty. Thanks for your message! I do have to disagree with you regarding the value of lungeing. However, I do agree that done to excess it is detrimental. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!
     
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  8. Nov 12, 2019 at 11:28 AM #8

    MindySchroder

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    Hi Sunny2874! I am a firm believer in cantering in travois and then cantering in the cart. It is a very important step in cart training as I have seen a horse that was never cantered in cart, spook in a driving class and then spook because it was cantering in the cart. It started bucking, flipped the cart and slammed into the wall. Very scary for everyone in the ring and on the outside of the ring. VERY scary for all the ponies involved. I highly recommend getting that canter ;)

    I am from a natural horsemanship background and most recently Parelli. But it's really all so similar! To get a horse to canter online I play a little game of, "The ground you are standing on is HOT so I would move if I were you!" I am going to tag the ground with my string, if the pony is standing on the ground then he may get tagged. If he is moving though, I will simply tag the GROUND. And I will tag that spot every time they go by which encourages them to MOVE through the spot a bit quicker. I am never trying to tag my pony. And at first they can really react and get the heck out, but once they understand the cue, which it sounds to me like he is just not understanding, then they will respond instead of react. This is all done quietly and without a lot of drama. Of course I don't tag the ground when they are standing still. Here is a blow by blow:

    - I back my pony up to the edge of the circle/end of my line.
    - Then I send them out onto the circle, however you do that, I will lift the line and point in the direction I want them to go, supporting with my stick if need be.
    - I ask for a walk and do that for several laps. Sometimes we do moving circles and incorporate obstacles so it's not boring.
    - Then I'll ask for a trot. I am very crisp and clear when I ask for this. Try really hard to not feel sorry for him that you are making him work after a life of being a pasture pet ;) Believe me I know that feeling! After all these guys are so cute and I know how much I hate to sweat. LOL!
    - Then I'll raise my hand holding the line, say "canter!" very clearly and lead with the line a bit. When they don't respond then I'll lift my stick and swing it behind the pony. If they still do not respond then I will focus on a spot on the circle and as the pony goes through that spot I will tag the ground. This happens quite quickly so they equate the word canter with the tag. If I get even one step of canter I will bring the pony in and praise and praise, allowing some think time. Then I will send him back out on the circle and ask for a trot and then ask for a canter and do all the steps again until I get one or two steps. When I am teaching I rarely ask for more than 3-4 steps of canter, with a reluctant mover. With forward pony I will ask for one full lap before I quit.

    Timing is key as is praise. And if he is food motivated but not rude then a well timed cookie in the middle doesn't hurt.
     
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  9. Nov 13, 2019 at 3:03 PM #9

    Sunny2874

    Sunny2874

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    Mindy,

    Thank you SO much!!! I had heard that I should teach cantering for that very reason!! I really appreciate you writing such a thoughtful and educational post! The details you wrote for the lunge work was fantastic! Thanks again for taking the time to share your information....very kind of you!!!!
     
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