Is it really that bad to lunge your horse before riding? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 07-13-2010, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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Is it really that bad to lunge your horse before riding?

So I've been getting some flack at the barn for running my girl in the round pen about 10 minutes prior to riding her. The way I see it, is that she is young, she is untrained, and she has endless energy, so why not set her up for success?

She responds better to cues and is easier to ride after she's been in the pen. She just has more focus this way instead of having the attention span of a fruit fly.

Apparently this a horrible idea and I should be teaching my horse "the right way" to do things and not make her dependant on being lunged in order to be easily rideable. It was suggested that I just get on her and show her who's boss if she is too hyper so she doesn't think she can "get away with it".

I have to admit, I just don't understand what the big deal is. I figured that once she has matured and is consistent with her cues it should be easy to wean her off of the constant lunging. Or am I off base with this?

It never occurred to me that this would be a questionable idea!
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post #2 of 32 Old 07-13-2010, 10:53 PM
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I think with a young horse or any horse it is always a good idea to lunge first. Its the best way to see what horse you will be riding that day. Horses are not always the same day to day. I admit I get lazy about doing it with some of my horses but the one who is a little high strung I always lunge him first not always just in a circle but all over the arena changing directions circling me straight by myside back etc. Rather he get his jumpys out before I get on:)
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post #3 of 32 Old 07-13-2010, 10:54 PM
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I'm not in the 'show her who is boss' camp, but I am in the 'channel that energy into something productive' camp.

Carrying us around is a hard job, especially when they are new at it and only learning. I would rather the excess energy channelled into something productive - concentrating, greater effort, learning something new - Whatever.

I am breaking in a pony and I send her in a circle each way before I get on to let the saddle/girth settle - then i'm on, and doing things that keep her attention on me and her mind engaged so she uses her energy for something constructive, not something destructive.

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post #4 of 32 Old 07-13-2010, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeeaddict View Post
So I've been getting some flack at the barn for running my girl in the round pen about 10 minutes prior to riding her. The way I see it, is that she is young, she is untrained, and she has endless energy, so why not set her up for success?

She responds better to cues and is easier to ride after she's been in the pen. She just has more focus this way instead of having the attention span of a fruit fly.

Apparently this a horrible idea and I should be teaching my horse "the right way" to do things and not make her dependant on being lunged in order to be easily rideable. It was suggested that I just get on her and show her who's boss if she is too hyper so she doesn't think she can "get away with it".

I have to admit, I just don't understand what the big deal is. I figured that once she has matured and is consistent with her cues it should be easy to wean her off of the constant lunging. Or am I off base with this?

It never occurred to me that this would be a questionable idea!
1. She's your horse. You are free to train her however you see fit. Opinions are just that.

2. If it works for you, then do it. I'm into safety. There's absolutely nothing to be gained by getting on a hyper horse other than possibly a bruised ego and some broken bones. If longing her for a few minutes lets her get her kicks out, I don't really seem the harm in it.

3. There might very well be a better way to get her calm and attentive enough to ride. It may just not have become apparent to you yet. One day, you'll read about a new idea or exercise and find it's great for your particular horse. The only bad trainers are the ones who can only see one way of accomplishing a goal. Over time you're routine with your horse will become more refined and purposeful. It may or may not include a pre-ride longe session. It's no big deal either way as long as it works for you both.

That's my 2 cents.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #5 of 32 Old 07-13-2010, 10:57 PM
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Let them ride their horses their way and you do it yours. I always lunge Nico before I ride and I catch the same crap. I can see where they are coming from...lunging for extended periods of time builds stamina in the horse and nothing for yourself. I round pen Nico for about 5-10 minutes (depending on his mood) before we ride. Nothing more than 'hey mister listen to me' exercises. I dont race him around in circles trying to blow the steam out...I just need him to focus on me. We do tons of turning and trot transitions. Its just a matter of what works for your horse.
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post #6 of 32 Old 07-13-2010, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeeaddict View Post
It was suggested that I just get on her and show her who's boss if she is too hyper so she doesn't think she can "get away with it".
I tried that one with my green horse as several people said the same thing. Didn't do one iota of good, instead of a horse who gives me a 5min fight about going forward, I ended up battling for an hour. Gave all the folks attending the open house next door a fine show.

Per my trainers instructions, I now lunge her until she's paying attention. If that's 2 minutes great, if that's 30 minutes, so be it. I don't think this will be needed on a permanent basis, I can see weekly how the amount of time needed on the lunge line is going down. My trainer reminds me to "Set yourself up for success" and "A tired horse is much less likely to be bucking or kicking".
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post #7 of 32 Old 07-13-2010, 11:23 PM
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I don't lunge pre-ride because A) I've never had to work with a young, more unpredictable horse, and B) I like to have that little bit of extra "energy" to channel throughout our ride.

Cori hit the nail on the head, most people put down pre-ride lunging because it builds stamina, so you, theoretically, have to lunge longer and longer each time to get out the "energy" you're trying to get out. Eventually, you'd end up lunging for 40 minutes and riding for 20. At least that's the theory.

However, it seems you are just working on getting her attention and her focus. If that's the easiest and best way for her [for now] to do so, then continue. When introducing a new task to my filly, some in-hand work [backing up, side-stepping, basic yielding exercises] is the best way to get her attention. That's what works for her. You have found what is currently working for your mare, so when someone makes a rude comment, just say, "Thanks for the input," and continue what your doing. You're certainly not doing anything wrong.

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #8 of 32 Old 07-13-2010, 11:26 PM
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I don't lunge my Paso Fino gelding or Thoroughbred gelding, but my TB mare's trainer tells me to "lunge the CRAP out of her before you ride and she's so much more relaxed under saddle" so I do, and she is! I see nothing wrong with that.
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post #9 of 32 Old 07-13-2010, 11:29 PM
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Weird. Almost everyone at my barn longes. I don't see the big deal. Cricket doesn't always need to be longed since we work almost every day, but if she needs it, she'll get longed for warm ups or untill she's paying attention. I see absolutely no problem with it. Good luck =)

"I was eight years old, and I've never forgotten her face when she told me about watching you ride. She told me she saw you, and your horse was dancing in the moonlight."
-- A.C. Crispin's "Sylvester"
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post #10 of 32 Old 07-13-2010, 11:30 PM
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No! My friend had a crazy TB who just didn't listen without a bit of a lunge before entering the arena. How are you meant to teach them anything if they don't listen? You will eventually be able to wean her off the constant lunging to the point where she won't need it. She will mature and become more manageable under-saddle. Do what you think is right. You know your horse and they don't. So if I were you I would be telling them where they can stick their lunge line... :P

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He knows when you're sad,

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