I don't know why Monty Roberts doesn't like lunging but I know why I don't. While I think it's a useful life skill for a horse to have, it's not something I belabour. I think as a training method, it has limited use. It's not healthy for their joints or their minds to go round in endless circles, and, because the handler is always putting pressure on the one side, I don't believe it is an effective way to teach balance on a circle. It might have quite the opposite effect. I've seen a lot of horses go bananas on a lunge line because the owner uses it to tire them out; horse falls out of balance, freak out, runs faster, freaks out more, etc. When you pull in a horse's head on the lunge line, especially if the horse is already bracing against you because the lunge line is where you let it act like a hooligan, you put it in a position that would cause every dressage instructor in the world to shout at you if you did it under saddle: nose in, shoulders and haunches out of alignment, on forehand, unbalanced. Conversely, when riding or long-reining, the handler has control over both sides of the horse and can more effectively set the horse up for a balanced curved line.
I only lunge as a quick way to assess a horse's gait on a circle if I suspect it might be lame, or if I put a total novice on my horse. It might a rubbish way of training horses, but it's a fantastic way of training riders: they can think about their bodies and position without worrying about controlling the horse. For that reason, I would train a horse to lunge and to have perfect manners on the lunge line.
Last edited by thesilverspear; 08-19-2012 at 06:18 AM.