To lunge or not to lunge, that is the question!

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To lunge or not to lunge, that is the question!

This is a discussion on To lunge or not to lunge, that is the question! within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • The purpose of lunging a horse
  • Horse will only lunge one direction

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    09-28-2008, 08:32 PM
To lunge or not to lunge, that is the question!

I was watching RFDTV recently and heard one of the trainers (Ryan Gingrich I think) say that he doesn't typically like to lunge horses whether it is for the purpose of "getting the hot out" or otherwise.

I was wondering what everyone else thinks about lunging.
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    09-28-2008, 08:46 PM
I personally don't like lunging. I find that it does not help the horse. Instead I found in ALL the horses that I've lunged before in the past it just got them more worked up.

If you are cracking a whip to get a horse to run, you are turning them into the prey animals that they are....they don't run because they think it's fun, nor do they do it because they want to...they do it because they know what is to come. And even those whom when you are about to do it that take off without you even cracking the whip or wahtnot is because they are afraid that you'll do it.

A "hot" horse normally gets hot because of their food. If your horse gets hot, they should NOT have grain, or at least no corn, molasses, or anything else that would make them crazy. Take out the food that makes them hot and you'll be fine.
My horse used to always get hot, and I would lunge him to get the "hottness" out of him, but he would be crazy when I got onto him. So one day I didn't lunge him, and though he was crazy, he wasn't as crazy as he was when I would lunge him.
    09-28-2008, 09:00 PM
Super Moderator
I don't even need my longe whip to make my horses go. I merely say the word walk/trot/or canter and they go. I say whoa and they stop...

I rarely longe, mostly because I have heard that it puts a strain on their legs, especially if they are young horses. I have taken a hot horse to the round pen and free longed him in it though, he's gotten his bucks out and done much, much better when it was time to work....

I've also just gotten on a hot head and spent the extra time walking and trotting and whoa-ing to get his mind. I don't agree w/ the "parelli" views on longing, I personally am not a huge fan of it, however I will and I do longe a horse. Especially if I'm at a 2 or 3 day show with no turn out. I go ahead and put him on the longe line and let him pick the paces... Not to get the hot headedness out (he's not a hot head) but to let him stretch his legs. And of course he's a baby, which I said I don't like to longe young horses, which I don't but if I don't have any other options, I let him longe....

I also think some horses ARE hot heads, not because of their feed but because they are. Personality wise. And some horses don't have the best minds..... I wouldnt always blame issues on feed...

So... hmm... my vote go's for, occasional longing. I also have longed injured horses on vets orders... we started our mare of with 5 minute walks once per day for 2 weeks and moved up to 10 minutes nad so on, it took 2 months to get to longe her at the trot.... but it was on vets orders so.... it can't be too horrific... so basically... I have just rambled and given you no useful information!
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    09-28-2008, 09:04 PM
Green Broke
I lunge for training purposes only - not for "hotness" issues. Its a good way to teach the verbal cues for trot and canter before getting into the saddle. I do think too much lunging can be hard on the knees so what lunging I do is limited.

I will also lunge them for a couple laps if I am working with a particularly pushy or disrespectful horse - reminds them who is leader. No, they don't want to do it, but that is the point. There are times that I am going to ask them to do something they don't want to during their lifetime, and especially in tight situations they need to know who is in charge so that they will listen.

Also you have to lunge in a way that matches the horse you are working with. A higher-energy horse tends to benefit from more stopping and changing directions than a lower energy horse. Keeps them from getting too worked up if you do it right.
    09-28-2008, 09:07 PM
I find it too boring for words. I just jump on and hit the trails.
    09-28-2008, 09:10 PM
Green Broke
LOL - yes Arrow, but do you ride a 3 year old? Can't just "jump on and go" with a young just being backed horse. I don't ever lunge my 7 year old, but my 3 year old is a different story.
    09-28-2008, 09:18 PM
Originally Posted by Arrow
I find it too boring for words. I just jump on and hit the trails.
I agree also! Lunging is boring, both to the lunger and the lunge-ee lol.

I have been anti-lunging for a while, even before I started Parelli. I never viewed it as a good way to work with a horse. Never ONCE did I see a happy horse while being lunged. I've seen freaked out horses, unhappy horses, frightened horses, bored horses, but never happy horses.

Even at a two day show there are many things that you can do to get a horse all stretched out besides lunging.
    09-28-2008, 09:29 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by Cat
LOL - yes Arrow, but do you ride a 3 year old? Can't just "jump on and go" with a young just being backed horse. I don't ever lunge my 7 year old, but my 3 year old is a different story.
I...actually ... rarely longe my 2 year old before riding... :P
    09-28-2008, 09:33 PM
Amen to the "boring" comment! I like to get on and work on attention through transitions rather than on the ground.

I have been doing more lunging lately though. My horse tends to circle in one direction only when he gets bored and this has made the inside shoulder muscles significantly larger than his outside muscles, so I lunge in the opposite direction to even him out. The unevenness is making saddle buying a pain!

Anyways, I am bored, he is bored.....yuck!

By the way, is it lunging or longing??? Certainly not lounging!!!
    09-28-2008, 09:41 PM
I used to ride a horse, that had to be lunged before every ride, to get the beans out of him. He would leap and buck and rear on the lunge, but if he wasn't lunged first, he'd just do it under saddle instead.

Another horse I'm riding now is similar, has to be lunged first after some time off to get the beans out, or she does it when you get on-she actually fell over with me the other day because she was being an idiot, because I didn't lunge first.

I love lunging, I don't need to lunge my horse but I think it's great. I think it's a great way to establish some basic ground rules, teach them to change pace by voice command alone.

I think it depends entirely on the individual horse.

And yes, not all horses are hot off feed, others simply are just spirited in their personality

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