Working on the Lunge

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Working on the Lunge

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  • Working team of horses on the lunge line
  • Tips for working with a lunge line

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    07-16-2010, 12:52 PM
Working on the Lunge

I think I'm going to start Jerry working on a lunge line and free lunging. Does anyone have any tips and exercises that I can do to help him gain muscle and to teach him how to work on the lunge?
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    07-16-2010, 11:50 PM
I need tips and stuff on lunging too. My horse doesn't seem to know what to do or what I'm asking of him and I don't know how to show him since I've never done much lunge work.
Does yours know what to do?
    07-17-2010, 01:05 AM
For muscling and such, long trot 20 minutes each direction each day :) We do that with our halter horses and it really builds everything.

Be sure to stand with a triangle shape with you and your horse. The longe line to the horse's face, whip from the hind end back to you. Drive your horse forward with vocal and the whip, if needed. You may have to chase him some around the arena. Longing is definitely a learned thing, but it's not difficult to teach.
    07-17-2010, 01:19 AM
The biggest challenge when lunging is being correct yourself. Most people aren't really aware of what their body is doing, and often it's not what they think it's doing.

I teach people to put the horse into thirds... the front third will move the front end, the middle third controls the ribs and amount of bend, and the last third controls the hindquarter. "Home position" is with your belly button at the middle section (where the girth would sit) and When they want the horse to move forward they "center" (belly button) themselves in the hind third ("Moving position") and apply pressure when the horse moves move back to "home". If they want the horse to slow down or stop they center themselves in the front third ("Blocking section").

If the horse starts to fall in in the circle they need to decide which section of the horse needs to move... and center and apply pressure there... etc.

It's a much easier concept to learn if someone is there and able to work with you.

Once you get the horse going forward comfortably, you want to start getting it to lower it's head and round out through the back - really working from behind. This is how you'll need to be working if you want to build the right muscles.
    07-17-2010, 01:25 AM
I just wanted to ad to TheLastUnicorn's great description:
Your body language is very important. I agree as well that you should have an experienced rider or trainer with you. Horses read off of body language, especially the torso- focus on the shoulders. Keep your shoulders square with his shoulder.
    07-17-2010, 11:31 AM
^ Or not depending on what you're asking LOL... and don't forget your hips.. if you aren't "straight" neither will your horse be (just like when you ride)

Lunging and riding present some really interesting parallels... and is the reason I've begun to include teaching lunging along with riding for new riders.

I suppose one of the biggest things to learn and get the hang of is this - the horse isn't "wrong". If it's not doing something you expected, stop and take a look at you before you get "mad" and just start using your whip. Occasionally you will come across a horse that just says "no", but usually they are doing what they are doing because they thought you meant something else.

Ideally, you should be able to lunge with nothing but the horse and you. We use the line and whip as tools to help us maintain steady communication... but they aren't really "necessary" once you have the hang of it.

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