Age for lunging an APHA? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-24-2012, 07:43 AM Thread Starter
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Question Age for lunging an APHA?

I have a filly who turned 1 in August. She is an APHA registered, solid red roan.
The barn owner breeds paints, and she gave her to me because I've done a lot of work for her (I'm 16). She used to show paints all over, and she's done really well.

I've heard a lot about lunging. The barn owner says I should start lunging her, and they have classes for 2 & Under lunging at most of the shows I go to, and the APHA world show.
But I've heard that it can be damaging to their legs when you lunge them so young. My goal is to eventually jump her, and obviously I don't want to hurt her.
I don't really have an opinion either way on lunging so young, but I want to know if this could cause problems down the road.

I can see where it would be damaging, but I also know that Paints and QH's develop fast in comparison to a lot of breeds.

What do you think?

Riders aren't 16 and pregnant. Riders are 16 and arthritic.
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-24-2012, 08:22 AM
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Why not figure out some fun groundwork stuff to do with her rather than longeing? It will help you build some rapport with her and also teach her to respect you while she' still young and developing.

I don't lunge any of my horses before they are 3. The torque on young legs isn't worth it, in my opinion, and unless you're knowledgeable and know how to use it for teaching, not simply for "tiring them out," then it's not very useful.

My two cents!
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post #3 of 12 Old 09-24-2012, 08:23 AM
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All breeds actually develop at roughly the same speed (physically but not mentally). I'm on my phone at the moment so can't provide a link to the study but it is a myth that different breeds have substantially different growth rates. I wouldn't be lungeing on a circle until the horse's skeletal structure is fully mature or it could cause long term damage to the joints, leading to crippling (and often expensive) conditions such as arthritis.

However, there are other things you can do with them to prepare her - ground driving, teaching to lead really well (at walk and trot), and once a few years have passed (say age 3), free schooling in an arena. You also could do some light in-hand work over ground poles but young horses need to be horses, so keep it short and sweet and allow her time to play - there are games you can play with her that will reinforce her ground manners as well. But remember, you've got years and years to do stuff with her - don't rush it now and shorten her working life.

There are other people with far more knowledge of youngstock on here but I've done a lot of reading into the benefits and drawbacks of lungeing at a young age (not to mention discussions with very experienced horse people) and I wouldn't go near it. I don't even like lungeing my 9yo much, I never do it for more than 10 mins (much of it at the walk), he's always warmed up prior and there's always a specific training lesson behind it.

Just my $0.02
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-24-2012, 08:25 AM
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Magaidh - you beat me to it and were more succinct
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-24-2012, 09:22 AM
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Google Equine Agility. It removes some of the boredom of ground work and fine tunes it. You can introduce lunging be keep her to a walk. Just do part circles then ask her to whoa. Whoa means stop, don't move. In time it will be ingrained. 10 min is plenty for her young mind. Your focus will be more on her moving correctly on the circle.
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-24-2012, 01:40 PM
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I show APHA & I just see yearling lunge line classes.Don't show in LL but as for lunging yearlings I see it done all the time & those horses have grown up to have performance careers.
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-24-2012, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by paintedpastures View Post
I show APHA & I just see yearling lunge line classes.Don't show in LL but as for lunging yearlings I see it done all the time & those horses have grown up to have performance careers.
And how many of them end up with arthritis in their early teens? Just because others do it doesn't mean it's right. It is known that lungeing puts great strain on joints, it is known that yearlings have undeveloped joints. Not a good recipe for a sound horse that's rideable into its 20s without having to be buted up or be fed a fortune in joint supplements. Its the same logic behind why kids aren't allowed to play at certain levels of sport/do certain dance moves until they're 12 - the joints need to be closed over before strenuous activities are undertaken.
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post #8 of 12 Old 09-24-2012, 06:39 PM
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I'd start off doing some trail rides and then maybe join an adult riding club so he gets used to going out and about. Then start doing gymkhana games and incorporate jumping.
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-24-2012, 06:46 PM
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Chief, she's a yearling - I'd be leaving off breaking to saddle til he's 3.

OP - if you want to show have you thought about halter/in-hand classes? Might be a good way to introduce him to crowds etc, and you can get heaps of show prep practice.
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-25-2012, 04:07 AM
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I do yearling lungeline and in-hand trail.

The trick to doing the lungeline and not wrecking their joints - is to not lunge them. Get her fit on the straight. Build up to trotting for 4 minutes maximum, ponied or otherwise. Practice your showmanship pieces and over-poles in short segments. Work on walking on the lunge and practicing your turns. Turning calm and obediently is very important. Also is stopping straight. All at a walk for a very long time.

Determine your horse's natural movement style. You can show western or english. Western is slow, english is more elevated. You only practice your jog and lope maybe once or twice a week before a show. You are depending on your horse's natural ability. You should not have to "lunge your horse down". If the horse does not have a low-key attitude and is not responsive, he is not a lungeline horse. The worst thing you can do is force a baby to be a lungeline-type horse. They either enjoy it or they don't.

Many LL I know have gone on to be wonderful show horses later in life. You just have to work smarter, not harder.
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Last edited by oh vair oh; 09-25-2012 at 04:09 AM.
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