Proper Way to Lunge
I wasn't exactly sure where I ought to put this, so it can be moved if needed. :)
Anyway. I was wondering what the proper, correct way to lunge is. I realize I've never really been taught what it is, just copied what my instructor does, and I'm not sure if that's what's considered correct. I usually lunge Rainy is just her halter, and occasionally with her saddle on, and I have a whip to encourage her to canter if needed. We lunge in a large, indoor arena, so I have trouble trying to make a real circle for her to stay in. Should the circle be rather large? Smaller? Medium sized? Is there a specific way to lunge her that I'm being clueless about? I've been told there are certain cues for walking, trotting and cantering, but I never really understood what they were/are. I have several videos of me lunging if you'd like to see what I'm doing right now, but now that I can find out how, I'm rather ashamed of what I'm doing presently. The videos probably make me look like a fool. :oops: Anyhow, any advice, tips, lectures are welcome. I'd just like to know exactly what to do, once and for all. Thank you!
*Passes out cookies*
I'm going to bump this for you since I myself have never been taught the correct way.
My OTTB will only lunge one direction... Counter Clockwise...Imagine that. Lol
Here's what my trainer taught me:
Hold the lead rope in the direction you want the horse to go and if you have a whip, hold that in the other. When you want them to go, point high with the hand with your lead rope in it and encourage them with the whip if necessary. Immediately after they start moving, drop both hands into a relaxed position and dont encourage them (i.e. kissing to them or using the whip) unless they slow down or something. When you want them to stop, bend down and stare at their hindquarters until they do so, this may take some time for them to learn. Then, switch hands with the rope and whip and continue. When you want the horsde to be done, stop them as already stated but don't let them walk towards you until you invite them in. When they stop, you ideally want them to turn towards you to the point you can see both of their eyes, but them not walk towards you.
Longeing is an ART, that takes YEARS to perfect. It's about developing a vocabulary with your horse that will translate to under saddle work. It's about showing your horse how to move correctly w/o the burden of a rider.
Unfortunately, to explain it to you would require I write a book, because even just covering the basics is really just enough information to get you into trouble.
You're best to pick up a book with explanations and illustrations. I believe Reiner Klimke wrote a book on longeing and that would be one of your best resources.
You'll need proper equipment to start: longeing cavesson, proper length longeline (at least 30ft), and a longeing whip.
You'll have to learn how to hold the longeline, how to cue different things with the longeline, what the whip cues are, where to position your body for various cues and so on...
Then there is the verbal cues that must be learned and applied correctly, and finally how you 'use' your body to affect the horse. How opening and closing the hips affects the horse, how to collect yourself to collect the horse and so on.
Finally, longeing 'may' be done on a circle, but a good trainer will longe on straight lines, serpentines, diagonals, as well as circles of varying sizes depending on what is being asked of the horse.
So you see, it's rather involved and gets more involved when you begin to long line.
This 'turning' toward the person is a habit developed from NH and those guru's, and has no place in longeing.
The ONLY time you will ask a horse to turn toward you when longeing, is if you are performing a change of direction, which is an advanced maneuver. The horse turns and comes towards the person, at the same time the person moves towards the horse's opposite shoulder,moves the longe whip and line to the opposite hands, flips the ring on the longeing cavesson, etc.. etc., all in one sweeping motion never affecting the horse's tempo, cadence or frame.
^^ i have my horse turn in too, & its not just a 'NH thing' [sorry i know a lot of people who dont do or know 'NH' that have their horse turn in]
i dont see how that is incorrect at all, just a preference. my mare knows when its ok to walk in [i have a signal for it] & unless i tell her she doesnt.
I will agree correct and effective lunging is an art. Timing and coordination are very important. But I disagree that it takes years to perfect.
Wow. Okay. :) Well, I'm just doing it to exersize Rainy, I'm not trying to be all advanced with it. I do have a better idea, I suppose, of what I need to do. But still, are there any other ways to just lunge your horse in a circle? Without getting overly technical and specific?
When you've advanced beyond the most basic level of longeing, it'll become clear why you never have the horse turn to you.
The circle is of no use to the horse gymnastically if it's not done 'technically' correct. All that does is torque the horse's legs and encourage bracing and stiff muscles.
Longeing is of little use to the horse and rider partnership unless it's done 'technically' correct.
You may choose to carry on as you are...many do. But the path to better horsemanship and horse management, and thus better understanding of the horse, thus a better relationship with the horse is learning all aspects, even those that seem daunting at first glance.
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