Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Gloomy Indianapolis
Personally, even when teaching a young stud to lunge, I start in a halter. Before I ever start actually lunging I do a lot of work with ground manners and respecting my space. I don't know how familiar you are with teaching a horse to lunge so I'll start at my beginning.
Depending on the horse, sometimes I don't use a lunge whip. I have found that for some it really hops them up and makes them nervous, for these horses I spin the end of the long line and get much more positive results. In the very beginning I concentrate on getting them to move in one direction and the whoa and go cues. I don't even try to turn them until we have that down. Then you start over in the other direction, as I am sure you know some do much better in one direction than the other. Then start to turn them. To do this I tell them "Easy" and step in front of the girth line while changing the rope and whip to opposite hands. This closes the door on one direction and opens it for the other. I point in the direction I want them to do and smooch to get them moving. Once you get this firmly down with them, you can do anything you want. My gelding is trained to voice and hand signals now. While I do occasionally still put him on a long line he now free lunges at multiple speeds, whoas, turns, etc...all by voice.
This makes it SOOOO much easier to work with side reins, etc... I am also a big advocate for boots while lunging. As mentioned above, they are more likely to interfere when circling.