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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*
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
No you don't. You want the horse to stay on the circle, facing in the direction of travel, one ear on you and to stand quietly while you approach the horse.

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.
 

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^^ 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.
 

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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.
Ah no. It is not an advanced maneuver. Very basic. Work on the lunge line needs to be done in both directions. The horse does need to stay at the end of the line and NOT come in toward the handler. I train to the horse to respond to the verbal cue "reverse". Works for the line and free lunging.

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.
 

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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?
 

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^^ 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.
It DID originate in NH. Prior to NH, nobody knowledgeable every allowed their horse to do that.

When you've advanced beyond the most basic level of longeing, it'll become clear why you never have the horse turn to you.
 

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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?
That's the whole point, it is 'technical' and it's become a dying art form used simply to burn off steam before bravely mounting.

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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In my experience, there are 2 distinct ways to lunge. I've always divided it into classical lunging and natural horsemanship (NH) lunging. Mercedes is outlining classical lunging, which I agree is every bit the art that classical riding is. Classical lunging is far more useful than NH lunging if you are lunging to give the horse real, correct exercise as an alternative (using the word alternative very loosely here) to a mounted schooling session.

NH lunging I find is most effective for very green or very disrespectful horses. The point here is not to build muscle or develop a good frame. What NH lunging contributes is respect and rapport. Not that classical lunging doesn't, but classical contributes to the physical development of the horse in addition to the mental and emotional. I personally have more experience with NH lunging, having handled mostly young or uneducated horses, unready mentally and emotionally to respond well to classical lunging. My personal horse is now very respectful, moving out of the grass green umbrella, and I thank Mercedes for the direction to the Klimke book as I begin my foray into more classical lunging. :wink:

So, to the original question: What is the proper way to lunge? It depends heavily on what "style" you want to lunge. NH lunging has so many brands and variations (almost all of which will get the job done if applied with common sense, feel, timing, and experienced help on occasion), type almost any name brand trainer into a search engine and you'll find a plethora of info on their slant to lunging. Several posters here have given excellent overviews of the basics. If that's what you're interested in, I recommend Clinton Anderson's Lunging for Respect stages 1 and 2; Pat Parelli's Circle Game; or almost any roundpenning series. NH basically treats lunging like roundpenning with a line. Not a bad thing, just different and used for a different purpose, to reach a different goal in horsemanship. It isn't "easy" per se, but is much more learnable from a DVD or study kit than classical lunging.

If you're looking for more classical lunging techniques, your best bet would be to look into a trainer and have a few lunging lessons, both lunging an experienced classically lunged horse and with your own horse. The adjustment of things like surcingles and side reins can be tricky enough to figure out alone, without touching on learning how to cue precisely, etc. I advise some research into classical dressage in general; that topic almost certainly will guide you into classical lunging. As I'm learning about classical dressage myself, I can't really give any specific advice about it other than to continue to research.

Good luck! :D
 

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It DID originate in NH. Prior to NH, nobody knowledgeable every allowed their horse to do that.

When you've advanced beyond the most basic level of longeing, it'll become clear why you never have the horse turn to you.
Again - I DO have the horses turn towards me - to reverse direction. If I lunge in a cavesson, I attach to the center ring on the nose piece. If I use a halter, I attach to the ring on the bottom. I ask for Whoa and then I ask for reverse. No break in the action, no attention drifting.

They are not allowed to walk in towards me. Even when we are finished, they are given the cue to 'stand' and wait for me to come to them.
 

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I don't want to get into the middle of the dispute, but IMHO,

If that's what your instructor does, and tells you to do, I'd just keep doing it that way for now. Maybe get him/her to observe and let them know you want CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. In saying this, I'm assuming that you're boarding at this barn for the knowledge of the instructor, and not just for a place to keep your horse. It will show your instructor you want to learn more, and not ruffle any feathers along the way.

Good Luck!!!
 

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No you don't. You want the horse to stay on the circle, facing in the direction of travel, one ear on you and to stand quietly while you approach the horse.

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.

Well, my trainer is one of those NH people, so thats what I was taught. I stated "this is what my trainer taught me," I didnt say it was what everyone does.

I don't think that changing directions is an advanced maneuver at all, i think it is very basic, and every horse that llunges should know it.

On another note, one thing I forgot to mention in my first post is that I was always taught to stay behind the "drive-line" or where the girth goes.
 

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Again - I DO have the horses turn towards me - to reverse direction. If I lunge in a cavesson, I attach to the center ring on the nose piece. If I use a halter, I attach to the ring on the bottom. I ask for Whoa and then I ask for reverse. No break in the action, no attention drifting.
The horse does not halt for a change of direction nor does he reverse. As I said, the horse's tempo, cadence and frame does not change through the change of direction. The art is in being able to do it this way, and having the horse straighten in the middle and then change bend on his way out, just as you would do it under saddle. Simple put, it's a change of direction within the circle. The art is in being able to switch your whip and line w/o disrupting the horse's movement and getting yourself tangled up.

To change direction from the halt, the horse is asked to the stand on the circle, facing the direction of travel, handler walks to the horse, switches sides and then carries on. That's where you start, it's hopefully not where you end.

You may do it the way you're doing, however you will not be able to advance the horse to changing the direction on the longeline through the walk, trot or canter because you've taught the horse to halt upon facing you. This horse will require retraining to be able to advance in his longeing. Of course, you may not desire to do this, but it doesn't make it any less incorrect. If the horse in question moves onto a new owner that wishes to advance the longe work, then they'll have to spend innumerable time retraining the horse. Again, you may have plans to keep this horse forever, however, that's still not the point.
 

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I don't think that changing directions is an advanced maneuver at all, i think it is very basic, and every horse that llunges should know it.
Talking apples and oranges. It is indeed an advanced movement and why you never see people doing it. What you see is people halting the horse to change direction. Or you see people using a round pen and blocking forward motion to change direction. That's not anything like what I'm talking about.
 

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The horse does not halt for a change of direction nor does he reverse. As I said, the horse's tempo, cadence and frame does not change through the change of direction. The art is in being able to do it this way, and having the horse straighten in the middle and then change bend on his way out, just as you would do it under saddle. The art is in being able to switch your whip and line w/o disrupting the horse's movement and getting yourself tangled up.

To change direction from the halt, the horse is asked to the stand on the circle, facing the direction of travel, handler walks to the horse, switches sides and then carries on. That's where you start, it's hopefully not where you end.

You may do it the way you're doing, however you will not be able to advance the horse to changing the direction on the longeline through the walk, trot or canter because you've taught the horse to halt upon facing you. This horse will require retraining to be able to advance in his longeing. Of course, you may not desire to do this, but it doesn't make it any less incorrect. If the horse in question moves onto a new owner that wishes to advance the longe work, then they'll have to spend innumerable time retraining the horse. Again, you may have plans to keep this horse forever, however, that's still not the point.

You are not making any sense. (read bolded)

And once yet again, I do not have the horse face me. They TURN (reverse) in towards the center of the circle - where yes I am standing - and continue in the opposite direction.

And oh heck yes can my horses can change direction on the line from the canter. Bred cutting horses that can do a roll back as pretty as you please.

P.S. - I learned lunging from a German dressage instructor.
 

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You are not making any sense. (read bolded)

And once yet again, I do not have the horse face me. They TURN (reverse) in towards the center of the circle - where yes I am standing - and continue in the opposite direction.

And oh heck yes can my horses can change direction on the line from the canter. Bred cutting horses that can do a roll back as pretty as you please.

P.S. - I learned lunging from a German dressage instructor.

First of all...I clearly explained the TWO different ways to change direction on a longeline and thus the TWO paragraphs. So the first paragraph represents talking about apples, and the second paragraph represents talking about oranges.

Earlier, you clearly stated: I ask for Whoa and then I ask for reverse.

First of all, I've always been under the impression that 'whoa' means...umm....whoa. Therefore I could come to only one conclusion in that you turned your horses to you, had them stop...which I believe you've said more than once now, and then had them change direction. However, I concede that 'whoa' may mean something else to you...so feel free to clarify.

I'm also under the impression that reverse means to back up. I do realize that the term 'reverse' is used in hunter and western to signify changing of direction, but I wasn't on that particular page...now I am.
 

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WOW! Ok, well we have two differences of opinion and let's just leave it at! No need for bickering back and forth about who's wrong and who's right. To each their own, everyone has a different agenda for lunging.

I know when I lunge, it is all about the bonding for me. My horse is still too young to really understand the whole bending on a circle. It's all about him trusting me. It took time for him to even stay out on the circle. He would always walk in towards me.

I am not looking for this perfect horse, who will be in the Olympics. Just perfect for me!
 

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WOW! Ok, well we have two differences of opinion and let's just leave it at! No need for bickering back and forth about who's wrong and who's right. To each their own, everyone has a different agenda for lunging.
I'm at a loss as to why one would want to stop the conversation. The more opinions expressed, the more information is on the table to make an informed choice for one's self.

It's simply too easy, and frankly, a cop out, to use the argument...'everyone has a different agenda'. Of course they do, irrelevant. W/O additional input they have no idea there's more available to them. You can only do what you know. Don't you want to know more? Or are you content to live in a tiny box? (Rhetorical questions...hopefully)
 
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