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Dressage, Lunging, Joints.
Bringing my horse back into dressage schooling(have just been hacking over winter to give his brain a break) and Ive started ouot by lunging him 3 times a week and schooling 2ce a week cause i dont have time to ride every day at the moment but im just wondering will the lunging be too hard on his joints to be doing it regularly 3 times a week? i lunge for around 30mins after warming up by walking out inhand for around 15mins and cool down the same way. I dont want to stuff up his joints cause i know lunging his very hard on them. Is it okay to lunge that often or should I cut it down and find something else to do? It is really helping him to sort out his rythem and he his learning to work from behind allot easyer without me onboard(it might just be because I can see it easyer then I can feel it though lol)
What is the surface that you lunge him like?? If it's a hard, uneven surface I'd be carefull about lunging him 3 times a week, but if it's a springy, reasonably soft surface you're pretty ok to be lunging that much. Also, how big is the circle you lunge him on? Small circle put more strain on his joints and spine, where as a large circle does not put so much pressure on.
If you have to space, I'd be lunging a few circles, making the circle smaller and bigger to keep him thinking, then start walking down the arena to lunging him in a straight line for a few strides, then circle again, then back down the arena etc. This is so he's not going in a curve the whole time, it lessens the strain on the joints and spine.
Also, change the direction every few minutes. I tend to go by once the horse is relaxed and responsive on one rein, I'll change and do the same on the other. Lots of changes of the size of the circle and pace will really help to build his muscle and balance.
I lunge in the paddock as its a 5 minute ride to the arena (off the property) and ill look like an egg walking him down the main road with his lunging gear on haha, But the ground isnt that hard where i am, the soil is quite sandy. I range the circle size to keep him thinking from 30m to 10m(gradually obviously) and I change rein often and change pace often as well as changes within the pace from medium to working etc hes really responding well to it but I dont want to stuff up his joints.
Sounds like you're doing all the right things ;) I wouldn't be worried baout his joints unless he's a real baby or quite abit older. If you're working him on sandy soil, it tends to have quite a lot of give in it so his joints wont be taking in all the impact.
Cool. Hes 13 but I dont want him getting Arthritus lol. I'm such a worry wort though hehe cause hes my baby.
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