Since I joined this forum, I have seen lots and lots of people talk about lunging their horse every day or before every ride. I was just wondering what the purpose was. I understand that sometimes lunging must be done with equipment like side reins for training purposes or if you have a cold backed horse. But I guess I am asking what is the purpose of lunging a horse that is calm and well trained? I ride western and have never lunged one of my horses past the point of the round pen training stage and they are all broke and happy. I guess I just don't get the point. Can someone please enlighten me?? Thanks.
I don't get it either. Almost all the barns I've been at, people never just rode their horses, even the dead broke finished show horses. They always lunged them for an hour first to "get the bucks out". Sometimes it was rodeo on a rope, but most of the time the horses were just run in a circle until they were tired. I think if you need to lunge your horse every time before you ride him, you need to get a better trainer.
I think lunging is generally for letting a horse use it's body without the stress of a rider. It's just a good exercise technique but should not be used every ride, IMO. I don't really see the point in that.
I like to lunge my horse before I ride becuase I can see how she is that day and I can also look for signs of lameness or if she's hurting somewhere. If I haven't worked with her for a while I lunge for my safety because I know that even though she may not show it right away but she might have built up energy that I need to kick out of her system before I ride.
Some people like to join up with their horse before riding. Some do it because its habbit and others do it for safety. I think a horse that is used for lessons or little kids shouldn't be one that needs lunging before every ride because it can not only get annoying but it can say alot about a horse that is suppose to be used for kids.
There are certainly good physical reasons for lunging like a cold back which my horse has but the real purpose is to get the horse focused on being ridden.
It is to set the horse's mind so it is only thinking of the person handling/riding it and not anywhere else.
If it is done right you end up with the horse swinging through the haunches and head neither too high nor too low but relaxed and totally listening to you.
Here is a picture of my boy being lunged by me and you can see he is exactly where you would want any horse just before you mount. Notice I do not have side reins nor have the head tied down in any way.
Lunging is used for many reasons...
-To settle a "hot" or "fresh" horse
-To exercise a horse when you can't ride
-To improve a horse's ground manners and response to vocal aids
-And sometimes for balance, and suppleness.
I think I covered it all. Boy, what Pony Club has taught me :) haha
I don't longe before everytime unless it is a young horse. But if my horse was stuck in a stall for a while I might send him around a couple time just to get that extra energy off. I always longe him if we are some place new. For one to get him use to the environment and to make sure he is listening to me before I jump on his back.
I don't longe my horse in mindless circles, losts of changes in direction and transitions.