I like free lunging because of the freedom from gear. It enables you to work with your horse solely on body language. I personally think free lunging and line lunging are two completely different things though. I think free lunging is about working on respect, and communcation whereas line lunging tends to be more of a tool for specific training and exercise. I definitely make sure all my horses know how to lunge on the line, because I always want to make sure that option is available to me just in case I don't have a round pen.
In my barn free lunging/chasing is purely an energy release, the horses are turned loose in the indoor to gallop around and get a few bucks out. Lunging is more to work on stuff like respect, or to get a horse who's been off back to work
i lunge my horse both ways, with the line to get the muscles built up (like her backmuscles, when she lets go and starts walking through her back) without the lunge when we work on our commands. And its a great way to communicate. Their is no "chasing" to get the bucks out. Its as good of a workout as with the lunge.
Lately I've been solely free lunging Lacey and today when I lunged her on the line she was SO much lighter (usually she leans on the line) and she was much more responsive to my cues. She even was able to canter without leaning on the line, something she's never been able to do before. I think that free lunging her helped her learn how to carry herself better instead of relying on me.
I personally like free lunging better because I feel that it makes her brain work harder and it makes me unable to rely on the line to control her (I had been kind of relying on it to get Lacey into a walk from a trot instead of teaching her what I want). I also like it because she seems to like it the best, I let her loose in the arena and no matter how big the arena is she goes in a big circle around me, never going away.
I like it both ways. =)
I prefer line lunging because you have more control and you can make the circle bigger or smaller as you please. I like it better for using side reins as well. Or if you're lunging over poles or jumps, you can take them off and put them back over it easily. If that makes sense.
They're two totally different things. Free lunging is more 'playing' with your horse and developing a bit more respect for you on the ground. Lunging with a rein is intended to develop muscles and improve the horses ability to work.
I usually lunge with a lunge rein running through the inside ring of the bit and attached to the lowest/middle ring of a roller, so it's sort of like a running side rein, then a side rein on the outside going from the bit to the middle/lowest ring on the roller.
I don't see the pont of lunging in just a halter/rein connected directly to the bit with nothing else as it's not really achieving anything. You aim to create energy behind by driving them forward but if you don't have an outside rein on them the energy you create just comes straight out the 'front door' and the horse falls in or out on the circle, developing incorrect muscling and back/joint issues from having incorrect bend.
I'm a bit passionate about lunging properly haha!!