September 22, 2010

How to Lunge a Horse

Now I'm not talking about the type of lunge whereby you take forward steps "in place" at a gym, while trying to impress some hot guy, thereby straining your hamstrings.  I'm talking about exercising a horse in a circular pattern on a long lead for training or exercise purposes.

Lessons learned in lunging a horse

1) Fold the excess lungeline in your hand rather than looping it so you don't get your hand caught in it if the line pulls out for some reason (i.e. horse freaks out and runs off)

2) While the horse is working in a circle around their person, that person walks a small circle in the center.

3) Push the horse with your body language: moving behind the girth will encourage forward motion or a faster pace, staying at the girth will help with maintaining the pace, stepping ahead of the girth signals to slow down or stop.

4) Don't pull the horse around with the leadline, your are "pushing" from behind

5) If using side reins to help with teaching headset and collection start looser and work up on a new or untrained horse

6) Lunging is a lesson in communication both for the rider and the horse

7) Go both directions so you don't work only one side (muscle group) of the horse.  And so you don't get too dizzy!

I found it quite intuitive and had a good time lunging Divine with just a halter and then the bridle with her "bitted up".  I'll have to try lunging Willy sometime to start working on him with collection.

The video below is one my mother took back in April.  Laurie is lunging Divine.  Sorry no pics or videos of me lunging a horse yet!

video

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