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Proper Way to Lunge

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  • Classical lunging
  • Mercedes lunge

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    02-10-2010, 12:05 PM
  #11
Started
In my experience, there are 2 distinct ways to lunge. I've always divided it into classical lunging and natural horsemanship (NH) lunging. Mercedes is outlining classical lunging, which I agree is every bit the art that classical riding is. Classical lunging is far more useful than NH lunging if you are lunging to give the horse real, correct exercise as an alternative (using the word alternative very loosely here) to a mounted schooling session.

NH lunging I find is most effective for very green or very disrespectful horses. The point here is not to build muscle or develop a good frame. What NH lunging contributes is respect and rapport. Not that classical lunging doesn't, but classical contributes to the physical development of the horse in addition to the mental and emotional. I personally have more experience with NH lunging, having handled mostly young or uneducated horses, unready mentally and emotionally to respond well to classical lunging. My personal horse is now very respectful, moving out of the grass green umbrella, and I thank Mercedes for the direction to the Klimke book as I begin my foray into more classical lunging.

So, to the original question: What is the proper way to lunge? It depends heavily on what "style" you want to lunge. NH lunging has so many brands and variations (almost all of which will get the job done if applied with common sense, feel, timing, and experienced help on occasion), type almost any name brand trainer into a search engine and you'll find a plethora of info on their slant to lunging. Several posters here have given excellent overviews of the basics. If that's what you're interested in, I recommend Clinton Anderson's Lunging for Respect stages 1 and 2; Pat Parelli's Circle Game; or almost any roundpenning series. NH basically treats lunging like roundpenning with a line. Not a bad thing, just different and used for a different purpose, to reach a different goal in horsemanship. It isn't "easy" per se, but is much more learnable from a DVD or study kit than classical lunging.

If you're looking for more classical lunging techniques, your best bet would be to look into a trainer and have a few lunging lessons, both lunging an experienced classically lunged horse and with your own horse. The adjustment of things like surcingles and side reins can be tricky enough to figure out alone, without touching on learning how to cue precisely, etc. I advise some research into classical dressage in general; that topic almost certainly will guide you into classical lunging. As I'm learning about classical dressage myself, I can't really give any specific advice about it other than to continue to research.

Good luck!
     
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    02-10-2010, 12:06 PM
  #12
mls
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercedes    
It DID originate in NH. Prior to NH, nobody knowledgeable every allowed their horse to do that.

When you've advanced beyond the most basic level of longeing, it'll become clear why you never have the horse turn to you.
Again - I DO have the horses turn towards me - to reverse direction. If I lunge in a cavesson, I attach to the center ring on the nose piece. If I use a halter, I attach to the ring on the bottom. I ask for Whoa and then I ask for reverse. No break in the action, no attention drifting.

They are not allowed to walk in towards me. Even when we are finished, they are given the cue to 'stand' and wait for me to come to them.
     
    02-10-2010, 12:12 PM
  #13
Yearling
I don't want to get into the middle of the dispute, but IMHO,

If that's what your instructor does, and tells you to do, I'd just keep doing it that way for now. Maybe get him/her to observe and let them know you want CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. In saying this, I'm assuming that you're boarding at this barn for the knowledge of the instructor, and not just for a place to keep your horse. It will show your instructor you want to learn more, and not ruffle any feathers along the way.

Good Luck!!!
     
    02-10-2010, 12:28 PM
  #14
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercedes    
No you don't. You want the horse to stay on the circle, facing in the direction of travel, one ear on you and to stand quietly while you approach the horse.

This 'turning' toward the person is a habit developed from NH and those guru's, and has no place in longeing.

The ONLY time you will ask a horse to turn toward you when longeing, is if you are performing a change of direction, which is an advanced maneuver. The horse turns and comes towards the person, at the same time the person moves towards the horse's opposite shoulder,moves the longe whip and line to the opposite hands, flips the ring on the longeing cavesson, etc.. etc., all in one sweeping motion never affecting the horse's tempo, cadence or frame.

Well, my trainer is one of those NH people, so that's what I was taught. I stated "this is what my trainer taught me," I didnt say it was what everyone does.

I don't think that changing directions is an advanced maneuver at all, I think it is very basic, and every horse that llunges should know it.

On another note, one thing I forgot to mention in my first post is that I was always taught to stay behind the "drive-line" or where the girth goes.
     
    02-10-2010, 12:39 PM
  #15
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by mls    
Again - I DO have the horses turn towards me - to reverse direction. If I lunge in a cavesson, I attach to the center ring on the nose piece. If I use a halter, I attach to the ring on the bottom. I ask for Whoa and then I ask for reverse. No break in the action, no attention drifting.
The horse does not halt for a change of direction nor does he reverse. As I said, the horse's tempo, cadence and frame does not change through the change of direction. The art is in being able to do it this way, and having the horse straighten in the middle and then change bend on his way out, just as you would do it under saddle. Simple put, it's a change of direction within the circle. The art is in being able to switch your whip and line w/o disrupting the horse's movement and getting yourself tangled up.

To change direction from the halt, the horse is asked to the stand on the circle, facing the direction of travel, handler walks to the horse, switches sides and then carries on. That's where you start, it's hopefully not where you end.

You may do it the way you're doing, however you will not be able to advance the horse to changing the direction on the longeline through the walk, trot or canter because you've taught the horse to halt upon facing you. This horse will require retraining to be able to advance in his longeing. Of course, you may not desire to do this, but it doesn't make it any less incorrect. If the horse in question moves onto a new owner that wishes to advance the longe work, then they'll have to spend innumerable time retraining the horse. Again, you may have plans to keep this horse forever, however, that's still not the point.
     
    02-10-2010, 12:41 PM
  #16
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by HorseOfCourse    

I don't think that changing directions is an advanced maneuver at all, I think it is very basic, and every horse that llunges should know it.
Talking apples and oranges. It is indeed an advanced movement and why you never see people doing it. What you see is people halting the horse to change direction. Or you see people using a round pen and blocking forward motion to change direction. That's not anything like what I'm talking about.
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    02-10-2010, 12:47 PM
  #17
mls
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercedes    
The horse does not halt for a change of direction nor does he reverse. As I said, the horse's tempo, cadence and frame does not change through the change of direction. The art is in being able to do it this way, and having the horse straighten in the middle and then change bend on his way out, just as you would do it under saddle. The art is in being able to switch your whip and line w/o disrupting the horse's movement and getting yourself tangled up.

To change direction from the halt, the horse is asked to the stand on the circle, facing the direction of travel, handler walks to the horse, switches sides and then carries on. That's where you start, it's hopefully not where you end.

You may do it the way you're doing, however you will not be able to advance the horse to changing the direction on the longeline through the walk, trot or canter because you've taught the horse to halt upon facing you. This horse will require retraining to be able to advance in his longeing. Of course, you may not desire to do this, but it doesn't make it any less incorrect. If the horse in question moves onto a new owner that wishes to advance the longe work, then they'll have to spend innumerable time retraining the horse. Again, you may have plans to keep this horse forever, however, that's still not the point.

You are not making any sense. (read bolded)

And once yet again, I do not have the horse face me. They TURN (reverse) in towards the center of the circle - where yes I am standing - and continue in the opposite direction.

And oh heck yes can my horses can change direction on the line from the canter. Bred cutting horses that can do a roll back as pretty as you please.

P.S. - I learned lunging from a German dressage instructor.
     
    02-10-2010, 01:03 PM
  #18
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by mls    
You are not making any sense. (read bolded)

And once yet again, I do not have the horse face me. They TURN (reverse) in towards the center of the circle - where yes I am standing - and continue in the opposite direction.

And oh heck yes can my horses can change direction on the line from the canter. Bred cutting horses that can do a roll back as pretty as you please.

P.S. - I learned lunging from a German dressage instructor.

First of all...I clearly explained the TWO different ways to change direction on a longeline and thus the TWO paragraphs. So the first paragraph represents talking about apples, and the second paragraph represents talking about oranges.

Earlier, you clearly stated: I ask for Whoa and then I ask for reverse.

First of all, I've always been under the impression that 'whoa' means...umm....whoa. Therefore I could come to only one conclusion in that you turned your horses to you, had them stop...which I believe you've said more than once now, and then had them change direction. However, I concede that 'whoa' may mean something else to you...so feel free to clarify.

I'm also under the impression that reverse means to back up. I do realize that the term 'reverse' is used in hunter and western to signify changing of direction, but I wasn't on that particular page...now I am.
     
    02-10-2010, 01:41 PM
  #19
Foal
WOW! Ok, well we have two differences of opinion and let's just leave it at! No need for bickering back and forth about who's wrong and who's right. To each their own, everyone has a different agenda for lunging.

I know when I lunge, it is all about the bonding for me. My horse is still too young to really understand the whole bending on a circle. It's all about him trusting me. It took time for him to even stay out on the circle. He would always walk in towards me.

I am not looking for this perfect horse, who will be in the Olympics. Just perfect for me!
     
    02-10-2010, 01:50 PM
  #20
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by JadedEyes    
WOW! Ok, well we have two differences of opinion and let's just leave it at! No need for bickering back and forth about who's wrong and who's right. To each their own, everyone has a different agenda for lunging.
I'm at a loss as to why one would want to stop the conversation. The more opinions expressed, the more information is on the table to make an informed choice for one's self.

It's simply too easy, and frankly, a cop out, to use the argument...'everyone has a different agenda'. Of course they do, irrelevant. W/O additional input they have no idea there's more available to them. You can only do what you know. Don't you want to know more? Or are you content to live in a tiny box? (Rhetorical questions...hopefully)
     

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