I used a comprehensive lunging program to help rehab a severely underweight teenage horse as he was gaining weight and rehabilitating, to help him build muscle and stamina to support his sagging features instead of just putting on a huge hay belly.
It was extremely effective, and he gained about 400 lbs in oh, 4 months? He looked about 7 years old when he was in top condition again.
I started out trotting for a total of about 5 minutes a side, with lots of walk breaks. As he built muscle and stamina, I upped the time gradually until he had the energy and stamina and muscle tone to lunge 15-20 minutes a side at the trot with far fewer walk breaks. By the time he was fit enough for me to ride him, he was very balanced and in great shape.
Lunging definitely has its benefits.
Owner and head trainer of SE-Wisconsin Horse Care
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