Benefits of Lunging? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 03-07-2010, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Question Benefits of Lunging?

Sorry if this isn't the right place or if there is already a thread for lunging,

What are the benefits of lunging? Should I teach my horses to lunge?

We've never lunged our horses before, so I don't know how. I do have access to a trainer who could talk to me about it. I just wanted to know if I should or if they would be fine without it. They are not stalled so are out in the pasture 24/7.

Thanks! :)
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post #2 of 22 Old 03-07-2010, 11:06 PM
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In all honesty, only 1 of my horses knows how to lunge but that was taught to him by the people that had him before. If my horses are more than green broke, they never see the inside of a round pen or a lunge line. My thinking is that if I can't get them to do what I want them to do under saddle, there is more missing from my training plan than some lunging. I think that if your horses are beyond the green broke stage, there really is no need for lunging unless you need to use side reins or some other training method. If you get along with them now, there really is no need to teach them to lunge unless you just want to.

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post #3 of 22 Old 03-08-2010, 02:52 AM
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It definitely comes in handy. I have to lunge when my horses have had time off. It gets all the bucking and bad energy out before you ride as well as warming them up. If your horse is having trouble getting the correct lead at any point in its life a simple lunge line usually fixes it. Teaching a horse to lunge is also a wonderful way to get respect. I use Clinton Anderson's methods and a lot of them involve lunge line like techniques. I actually encourage everyone to teach a horse to lunge before ever being broke to ride. If your horse listens when you ask it to move forward, backward, different directions, and stop from the ground with simple cues then he will respect it from the saddle much more. When you put that saddle on the first time it's best to use a lunge line as well. Pole work can be done from the lunge line too for many purposes including starting a jumper out.

If you don't want to use a lunge line it is good to have a round pen and "free lunge". I do this more than using a line.

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post #4 of 22 Old 03-08-2010, 06:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs View Post
In all honesty, only 1 of my horses knows how to lunge but that was taught to him by the people that had him before. If my horses are more than green broke, they never see the inside of a round pen or a lunge line. My thinking is that if I can't get them to do what I want them to do under saddle, there is more missing from my training plan than some lunging. I think that if your horses are beyond the green broke stage, there really is no need for lunging unless you need to use side reins or some other training method. If you get along with them now, there really is no need to teach them to lunge unless you just want to.
I agree with this and seems to me that a lot of folks retreat to the round pen with a 'lunging will cure all evils' mentality. I've never lunged before riding, not even when our youngest was green broke, and I think they make more progress, faster, the more you're in the saddle. All our mares know how to lunge, but I think I dust off the lunge line only about once a year when I really have nothing to do (which is very rare) just to convince myself that they haven't forgotton (which I know they haven't).

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post #5 of 22 Old 03-08-2010, 06:44 AM
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For my mare it is the only way we have a good ride. She needs to have that few minutes to play. When she is on the line she bucks and kicks, having a good ole time. When she is done running and playing she will roll and run one or two more laps then walk to me when she is ready. When she is done she will stand and lower her head, lick her lips and rub her head on me. When we walk over to the saddleing area she is soo much calmer. Only takes 15 or 20 mins. Plus I can get a good look at her and make sure she hasn't any injuries, lameness and such. Added benefits to this is our communication. She will listen to me better when I do ride. Ground work is vital to a young horse in my opinion. I just know what works for us.
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post #6 of 22 Old 03-08-2010, 09:02 AM
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My daughter got a ground work kit for her birthday and her instructor explained to her friend's parents (a party at the barn) that longing/ground work can help when a horse has a problem under saddle, but it gets the rider off.

Yesterday we were invited up to a trail clinic at the farm. In the covered arena there were deer and coyote decoys, tents, tarps, balls, umbrellas, ribbon, etc. The first few hours of the day were the riders longing their horses near all these obstacles, over the tarp, etc. Every last horse had an issue with the tent or coyote, but after spending time longing near them, poking at them, etc, after lunch all the riders were able to ride the trail course without being thrown. 3 of these horses are known for being hot, stubborn, and flighty. They benefitted most from the ground work before the ride.


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post #7 of 22 Old 03-08-2010, 09:28 AM
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I'm another one that never lungs, ever. I feel it is just a cop out for some poor handling. If you need to lung your horse before riding to get the kinks out the horse doesn't have the proper respect for you to begin with.
I do everything from the saddle and nothing from the ground.
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post #8 of 22 Old 03-08-2010, 09:58 AM
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lunging should never be used to tire a horse out...ever. It should be used only to get the horse more supple on properly balanced on the four pillars (legs). It can help with teaching them to round out,too. Please don't lunge just to tire a horse. And never imho should a horse be lunged by a bit...use a lunge caveson or a halter if you don't have a caveson. Again jmho...but lunging can ruin good horses if done wrong :( I also believe all horses should be (correctly) lunged before riding, NOT to tire them out,but to warm them slowly. We aren't expected to run a race without warming up....

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Last edited by Piaffe; 03-08-2010 at 10:07 AM.
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post #9 of 22 Old 03-08-2010, 10:04 AM
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If my horse has had a break (as he often does during our horrible winters) I will lunge/do groundwork before I ride. He is not allowed to do anything on the lunge that I wouldn't allow in the saddle; no bucking, rearing, or otherwise misbehaving. I use NH style lunging as a warm up and a sort of pre-flight check, that way if something goes south for whatever reason I can see it before I'm 6 feet in the air, and to remind the horse what work is if he's had a couple weeks off or if he's feeling fresh. If the horse is being ridden regularly, I generally don't lunge first.

I'm looking into starting classical lunging/long lining as a way to introduce the concept of contact to my horse as well.

I agree with Piaffe that lunging should never be used just to tire a horse. It can either build trust/respect, or to improve carriage and posture in the horse. Investing in some lungeing lessons might be a good idea, there's definitely some art and know-how to it that can really mess up a horse if done wrong.

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Last edited by Scoutrider; 03-08-2010 at 10:08 AM.
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post #10 of 22 Old 03-08-2010, 10:07 AM
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I usually lunge my horse to work on voice commands,other than that not much at all.
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