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Round pen work
#1
There have been a couple of very detailed, informative posts recently on groundwork from (or for) a beginner's perspective that have been really useful... could somebody do a similar post on round-pen work? Such as, how to get started sending a horse around, what to work on or look for, how to cue and get different paces, etc.? I'd like to see it and it might be helpful for others too. Anyone?

'plash
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#2
We don't have a round pen, so I can't be of any help in that area. We do all out work on a longe line.

I could do a longeing one if anyone wants. Let me know, I don't want to spend that amount of time if its not going to be of any use.
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#3
Mrs. Hook; Looks like we have something in common. I also lunge my horses instead of using a round pen.

'Plasher; We have had a lot of beginners come on here asking about how to lunge a horse. So, I hope you don't mind, since lunging and round penning are kind of related, but here's a post I made that I dug up out of the archived that may shed some light on it. I really like to teach my horses to lunge, because it teaches them to yield to halter or bit pressure depending on how it's done. When I wrote this, it was how to lunge a horse that already knows how to do it. Training a horse to lunge would be a little different:

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For this exercise, you will need a good-fitting halter and I prefer a 20 foot lunge line. Carry the line in very large loops in your hand or "butterfly" it like in a figure 8 type pattern and hold it that way. NEVER wrap the line around your hand or let it drag on the ground where your feet could become entangled in the line. If your horse happened to spook, you could be dragged.

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 the line up close to 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 so you are standing across from his rear more 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(This is a whip with a long lash on it that is usually longer than the actual whip). You can touch him without putting yourself within kicking range.

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.

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.

This is also the way to control his speed and what gait he is in. Your body position will tell him how fast to go. If he doesn't want to go to a fast gait, raise your arms and use a verbal cue to urg him faster. Once he's into the faster gait, lower your arms, relax and let him work. If he slows down, urge him on. When changing to a slower gait, and light tug on the line and walking more across from his head or shoulder(depending on the horse) should slow him down enough to change gaits. Remember: Tense or excited body posture should urge your horse to go faster. Relaxed or limp type of body posture should slow him down. Stepping to the side so you are opposite the horse's head or neck should slow him down, stop him or reverse him depending on how far ahead of the center of the horse's body you are. Stepping toward his rear should speed him up.

Another thing to try, once the horse is responding well to walk/trot/canter, reverse, and whoa, is to see if you can slow or speed up any one gait. All 3 gaits have 3 different speeds... slow, normal, and extended. These can all be controlled by by your position to the horse and how tense or relaxed your body is.

Then, you can start having fun once your horse can do all these things on the lunge line and on cue. Mix up the routine and keep the horse guessing just what you may ask him to do next. I've asked Dove to stop, reverse, and then stop, again, before allowing him to move on. And I've done just the opposite. I've had him at a hand gallop and asked him to reverse without slowing down. The result was a beautiful rollback in the opposite direction. Try going from a trot to a walk, canter to trot, stop and reverse at the trot or a canter. It's fun and some horses really get into the game.

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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#4
puddle -
Ed Chambers has a good DVD out on round penning. He has a banner advertisement here on DE which you can click on (Turning Point Equine Center) to get to their website.
"You learn a thing a day, you store up smart" - Festus Haggen

"A man’s soul can’t be hidden,
From the creatures in his care." -
Hard Candy Cowboy by Debra Meyer


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#5
Red Hawk;

Your post is an excellent description of how to longe a horse. I would like to suggest that you to review it and add enough to it to cover how to teach a horse ( foal?) to longe as an accompaniment to the ground work post so that it can be stickied for ready reference for new horse owners and current forum members.

I can visualize a few more topics covering the other basics of good horsemanship that can cover a lots of the questions a beginning rider may have.
Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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#6
quote:
Originally posted by Hook

Red Hawk;

Your post is an excellent description of how to longe a horse. I would like to suggest that you to review it and add enough to it to cover how to teach a horse ( foal?) to longe as an accompaniment to the ground work post so that it can be stickied for ready reference for new horse owners and current forum members.

I can visualize a few more topics covering the other basics of good horsemanship that can cover a lots of the questions a beginning rider may have.



I'll see what I can do, Hook. That was a post I made some time ago, and I just added a few more details to it. I'm afraid I have had very little experience with foals and weanlings. I've never bred a mare or raised a foal. Terra was the youngest horse I ever owned, and she was ten months old at the time. I do have a post on how to teach a horse how to lunge somewhere, also. Maybe when I have more time over the weekend, I can dig it up and put something together.

Thanks[Smile].
"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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#7
quote:
Originally posted by Red Hawk

Red Hawk;

I'll see what I can do, Hook. That was a post I made some time ago, and I just added a few more details to it. I'm afraid I have had very little experience with foals and weanlings. I've never bred a mare or raised a foal. Terra was the youngest horse I ever owned, and she was ten months old at the time. I do have a post on how to teach a horse how to lunge somewhere, also. Maybe when I have more time over the weekend, I can dig it up and put something together.

Thanks[Smile].



I think that would be very useful to all of our members. Let's assume that the basics ground work is complete, Horse leads at walk and trot, stands when asked and pays attention to the handler. Longing in a round pen has the added benifit of being able to not worry about the horse running off but is certainly not a requirement unless you are a trainer with lots of horses to get trained in a day.
Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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#8
Another very good response to a common problem.Longe line and round pen work is absoulty necessary for a well rounded horse.If they will not do it on a line or in a round pen they won't do with you on their back.ride safe
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#9
Hook;

I've finished my lunging post and will putit in a thread of it's own to seperate it from everything else. It's a little long to cover everything that needed to be said. Once I've posted it, let me know what you think, and I'll edit it if necessary. Otherwise, I'll assume you have accepted it as is.
"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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#10
quote:
Originally posted by Red Hawk

Hook;

I've finished my lunging post and will putit in a thread of it's own to seperate it from everything else. It's a little long to cover everything that needed to be said. Once I've posted it, let me know what you think, and I'll edit it if necessary. Otherwise, I'll assume you have accepted it as is.



Good Job Red hawk. I like it just the way it is. Certainly qualifies as a sticky for reference for us all.

Maybe you could come and help us with our two year olds. Flyer is coming along quite well but needs more work before we add the saddle. Lottie is trying really hard and is getting the hang of it and Promise is very willing but hasn't really been worked with much.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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