To lunge or not to lunge...
I'm so confused by the hunter world's hatred of lungeing?!?!
Let me give some background before my question...
After competing as a Pony Clubber all through Junior High and High School and then competing in college, both times as a hunter jumper, I decided at 21 to just enjoy horses. I didn't compete or jump really for about 8 years because it had too much drama, competition, etc. and I just wanted to relax and ride. For eight years I just enjoyed horses, and then last summer and this summer I re-entered the world of competitions and showing. Last summer I just did local open pleasure and equitation classes, and then I trained all fall, winter, and spring to learn to be competitive in jumping again. This summer I started showing over fences. After not being in the hunter world for that long I have now discovered, I guess by sticking my foot in my mouth twice, that people really hate the lunge line.
1st time - I mentioned in passing that I lunge my horse if she hasn't been ridden for a week or so or during the weather change (summer to fall or winter to spring) because I like to see what her energy level is going to be like from the ground before I place my butt in the saddle (I don't really bounce that well off the ground these days:wink:). After this remark, I thought I would be bludgeoned on the spot. The reaction was over the top and basically implied that if I can't handle my horse I shouldn't ride her.
2nd time - So earlier today I was riding and minding my own business and a new boarder entered the ring and asked if her horse looked off to me. I stopped my horse, watched her go around a couple times and told her what I thought. She kept asking me all these questions on why I thought it was off and what she should do, and I told her that I sometimes lunge my mare, especially after the farrier has changed her shoeing or something, to see how she is moving from the ground since you can't see from their back, and, lo and behold, the look she shot me could have pierced my skin :oops:. She politely told me that she doesn't believe in lungeing. What? Even if it means seeing how your horse moves and whether it is off or not? Of course I didn't say this, I just politely started riding again because everyone is entitled to their opinions and I don't give mine unless asked.
So, after my explanation/rant, here is the question...
Is there something wrong with the lunge line that I don't know about? I don't use it that much, maybe once or twice a month, but why wouldn't you want to see how your horse is moving or try to check an energy level after time off. I don't get it?!?!
Phoebe, I'm of the same opinion as you. When I ride regularly, no need to lunge. When my guy's had a week off (I'm a college student, and during the school year I only get to come home and ride on weekends), or the weather's changed dramatically in a short period of time, I might lunge first. It isn't a license for the horse to be an idiot, and I expect the same good behavior as I would in hand or under saddle. It's just one more tool in the box, and a good way to assess a situation from the ground, whether post-trim, or to check the fit of a new saddle, or to see how the horse will react to a new environment.
There are also several other threads around with similar discussions.
I don't particularly like to lunge (I find it as a boring waste of time that could be spent in the saddle), but that is just my personal opinion. However, just because I don't do it doesn't mean that it has no purpose and it's too bad that not more people think of it that way. IMHO, the only time lunging isn't a good thing is when someone has way too much horse for their capabilities and they lunge them to 'tire them out' before getting on. Anything else is perfectly acceptable and each person has the right to decide for themselves what is right for them and their horse. Nobody else has the right to judge.
I do not lunge any of mine past the green stage. Does not matter how long it has been since they have been ridden. I find no use for it. If someone wants to lunge their horse fine. I just do not do it nor do most of the people I show with.
I personally think lunging is a great tool! I can see why someone might not want to do it (boring, time-consuming, etc) but I have no idea why they'd think badly of you doing it!
I will say that some people have horses they truly can never handle on any day and will lunge for 2 hours to tire the horse out so that they CAN control it....and maybe these people are assuming that's what you do?Anyway, that would be an example of a bad way to use it.
However, there are many excellent features of it as well- seeing if your horse is off, analyzing their energy level like you mentioned, working on verbal cues, exercising a horse that maybe can't hold much weight at the moment or that you don't have time to get on and ride, training a green horse, the list goes on. I also love lunge line lessons to work on balance! More good possibilities than bad I think overall.
i def. believe in lungeing. it helps me see the horses energy before i get on so i dont get thrown
My horse is not high energy...at all...However I still find it a wonderful tool to work on voice commands and I like to see how she is doing if I have not been able to get out to the barn in a while. In fact I am going to the barn tonight to just work on the ground. Lunging included. I would rather ride, but I feel the need to reconnect on the ground sometimes. :)
I used to quite a bit about 7 years ago, but I rarely lunge now. Not because I don't believe in it, I just don't really see a use for it in my horses. I ride my mare (who is now the only one I have to ride) very regularly to keep her in shape. I know a lot of people who do lunge. I don't think it is bad or good. It is one of those in-betweener things. Some people like it, some don't. I don't have an opinion either way, I just don't do it much.
I agree that it is terribly boring sometimes too, and that is why it doesn't happen often for my horse and I. I just was wondering why there is such disdain for it in the hunter jumper world. I have seen people (especially at open shows) who lunge their horse in the practice ring for hours in a sleezy before they ride, and I disagree with that, but I have never used it that way. And, in both situations where I felt embarassed for mentioning it, were sound reasons for a couple minutes. Heck I don't even lunge her at shows, but I know when the weather changes she sometimes has a big buck under her, and at 17h those bucks are HUGE:shock: so a couple turns on a lunge line and out it comes and on I go. If I know that, why wouldn't I get that out on the ground? I guess it partly comes from knowing your horse. If she is fidgety when I'm tacking, which is seldom, I know that buck is there. Also, all the people (sorry to make an age assumption here) that have expressed there disapproval are college age, so maybe they still bounce when they hit the ground :-P!
I understand what you mean. I lunge my horse when i cant ride her because it still gives her a workout and builds up her muscle tone. Yesterday i lunged her over a jump just to see if she was jumping properly. And i did it o exercise her when she fell over in the horse float beacsue she couldnt be ridden for 3 months. it kept her fit....so it is a good idea to lunge.
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