Originally Posted by SarahAnn
i am going through the same thing with my new horse. I have been doing a lot of lunging her in side reins to keep her head down and on the verticle which helps to engage their hind end nd strengthen as well. I do mostly trot canter trot transitions, but only for 10-20 minutes ob each side depending on if I plan to ride after or not.
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I lunge in side reins, but not to keep the horse's head down, dragging the head down does nothing what so ever to engage the hind quarters. I prefer to lunge with a fixed outside side rein, and a running inside rein (lunge line through inside bit ring and clipped to low point on roller/girth). The outside rein is there not to pull the head down, but it acts as the rider's reins do under saddle, and contains the energy you create in the hind quarters, encouraging the horse to round the back and work into a contact. The running inside rein is just to give a little more control of the flexion, or if you have a highly strung horse a running inside rein can bring the head around to the girth if the horse panics.
When lunging, be mindful not to go 10-20minutes of the same thing on the same circle, then you start getting your soundness issues as a result. Instead, try to work up and down the whole arena, using straight lines, increasing and decreasing the size of the circle, and changing rein frequently.