Proper lunging is a great skill for every equestrian to have when it comes to horse training. There are many uses for lunging including training young horses, general warm up, and working on enhancing horse's gaits. This is a great exercise if your horse's shoulders tend to bulge when riding, and it gives you a sense of where your horse's body is when moving.
When lungeing, the horse moves around you in a small circle at the walk, trot, and canter. You'll want to lunge your horse in an arena, round pen, or ring.
Preparing to Lunge
Before you lunge your horse make sure you have everything you need. You'll need a lunge line and lunge whip, the lunge line should be around 30 to 35 feet. Flat webbing is preferable to rope because it's lighter and easier to handle. You'll also need a lunging cavesson or sturdy halter. Boots or leg wraps are recommended to protect the horse's legs.
Proper gear when lungeing is very important. You should always wear sturdy boots or shoes to prevent sliding, and gloves are a good idea to prevent rope burn if your horse pulls. If your horse starts bucking gloves will protect against any tension as well.
Holding the Lunge Line and Lunge Whip
If your horse will be working to the left, hold the lunge line in your left hand and your lunge whip in your right. When your horse is traveling in a circle to the right, the lunge line will be held in the right hand and the whip in your left.
Upward and Downward Transitions when Lungeing
Voice commands come into play during upward transitions- walk to trot or canter, or trot to canter—can be reinforced by the lunge whip.
For downward transitions—trot to walk, walk to halt, canter to walk, or trot to halt—many people lower the tip of lunge the whip to the ground.
How to Change Direction
Ask your horse to change direction: ask it to halt, step backward, and turn. Then change your lunge whip and lunge line hands and send the horse off in the opposite direction.
1. Lungeing should not be used as a punishment
2. The faster the horse moves, the larger the circle needs to be. This can be accomplished by letting out more of the lunge line.
3. Lunging on a very small circle can put a strain on the horse's legs
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