Lunging - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 6 Old 11-03-2013, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Lunging

I have a young colt(gelding) that I have been doing natural horsemanship with since he was 9 months old. He is now 19 months old and I've introduced lunging for some exercise. Our sessions are very short, no more than 15 minutes at a time. I use a 15 foot rope with my rope halter. He never reaches the end of it though. He can walk, trot, canter both directions. Stops and stands until I cue him to go. He is perfect until I try to send him out a little further away from me. Its like once I try to push him out, we loose the connection. He'll just start to act up. He doesn't try to invade my space or anything. He just likes being close.
What are some ways I could go about getting him to move out?
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-03-2013, 08:15 PM
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Round pen work will help him get out away from you. Also, one-rein driving.

And you can start out at a walk and feed out the rope, I usually reinforce a cue by driving out the shoulder. You walk them until they are confident being further away from you, then move on to the trot/canter when they are confident. You might also take him out on unfamiliar territory and really test his skills about how good he is close to you.

Using these tactics, my 18 month old shows longeline (all three gaits, a stop and reverse) on a 25 ft rope and one-rein drives down the trail. Hope this helps!


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post #3 of 6 Old 11-05-2013, 10:53 PM
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Hi,

Firstly BTW, I wouldn't be exercising your horse on a circle, especially at that age. While it's great for training, lunging for exercise is hard on the joints.

So... I teach lunging as an extension of leading, asking for it at gradually increasing distances. Can you ask for close up 'lunging' and then ask him to increase the distance a little, without physically making him? If so, that's a great start. Don't worry about being particular yet, just get the basic idea across first. So if he's circling at a trot & you ask him to move further out, don't worry if he slows to a walk, reinforce him for whatever you get. Once he understands your cue, then you can start to improve it. I'd do this at varying distances, relaxing the particulars whenever you increase the distance.
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-10-2013, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Hi,

Firstly BTW, I wouldn't be exercising your horse on a circle, especially at that age. While it's great for training, lunging for exercise is hard on the joints.

So... I teach lunging as an extension of leading, asking for it at gradually increasing distances. Can you ask for close up 'lunging' and then ask him to increase the distance a little, without physically making him? If so, that's a great start. Don't worry about being particular yet, just get the basic idea across first. So if he's circling at a trot & you ask him to move further out, don't worry if he slows to a walk, reinforce him for whatever you get. Once he understands your cue, then you can start to improve it. I'd do this at varying distances, relaxing the particulars whenever you increase the distance.
19 months is certainly not too young for a few minutes of lunging. I am at a barn that raises quarters and those are started way younger and they are worked everyday to get fitted for shows. I only lunge 2-3 days a week for like 15 minutes. But thanks for the advice
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-10-2013, 02:31 PM
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I agree that he's too young to do much lunging. I believe that the slight problem my own horse has with one of her hips can be traced back to the extensive groundwork she went through as a youngster.

Anyway, it seems as if you're doing fine, but sending her out too far too soon. Maybe a more gradual progression is needed. You want to actually increase the amount of your space. Same as what you've been doing, just more so.

My trainer sends a horse out first by pointing, then with the other hand, making a big sweep with his arm, overhand, towards the horse's jaw. Then, he concentrates on driving from behind. Keep your body behind the girth-area.

And do go slowly! You'll be glad later.
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-10-2013, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amgThoroughbreds View Post
19 months is certainly not too young for a few minutes of lunging. I am at a barn that raises quarters and those are started way younger and they are worked everyday to get fitted for shows. I only lunge 2-3 days a week for like 15 minutes. But thanks for the advice

I agree, a few minutes, of walk & trot, but you said 15 mins & talking about doing it for exercise. That is your opinion. My opinion, based on information from those who regularly see the damage, is that just because something is done to babies in a show barn doesn't necessarily make it right.
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