Julie Goodnight offers advice for your riding and horse behavior problems.
Horses can move quickly and even kick out in the round pen. Those are
typical, emotional responses. You’ll need to change the horse’s direction
to slow him and get him to focus on your cues.
QI’d like to work my new gelding in the round pen and have him focused on me. Instead, when I turn him loose, he begins trotting or cantering around quickly before I even give a command. Why does he do this and how can
I help him slow down and
— Tammy Bu;ng, via email
When it comes to horses that are
speedy or downright out of control
in the round pen, there are two
common reasons for the behavior.
The first is that the horse doesn’t
want to be there and is herd
bound: he looks outside, kicks out
and carries on to show you that he
really wants to get back to his herd.
The other possible explanation
is that before you got this horse,
someone inadvertently trained
him to run. Some people think
round pen work is simply a time to
run a horse around in circles—to
wear him out before riding. But the
truth is, there is a lot more to round
pen work than that. In the second
scenario, the horse may learn to
run around in circles as soon as he’s
turned loose. He thinks that’s what
he’s supposed to do.
Either way, you have a horse
that is not paying attention to
you and probably has no regard
for you. In the round pen, the
Round Pen Rehab
GOOD ADVICE » BY JULIE GOODNIGHT WITH HEIDI MELOCCO