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To me you can never do enough ground work or should never stop regardless the age of the horse. Just like athletes go back to basics sometimes to give their body a break or to refresh the foundation that brought you to the top. Since we start at the bottom and work up, not start at the top and once in awhile go down it is always good to go back to the basic again. My horse does really good if I take time off of riding and do lunging exercises or long lining. He gets a better grip on balance, transitions, etc. So when I go back to riding, even if I only took a one week break, he is way easier to ride and more understanding instead of bracing against me. Also from the ground it is easier to see an issue. Say he isn't wanting to turn a certain way, I'll lunge him or ground drive and see if I can see a problem and fix it. Maybe it's medical so he gets that taken care of, or maybe needs extra help to rebalance. Which is much easier on the ground. Hope that makes sense!
Yep, you just spoke the exact truth! While I don't lunge the horse I ride, I check him over for injuries, soreness, etc. while grooming him and doing groundwork. Like I said in a previous post, it also gets his attention back if it wanders if he's falling asleep.
 

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When I'm horse hunting I ask sellers if they can send me videos of their horse on the lunge and under saddle - tells me a lot more about the horse and the way it moves, behaves and responds to the handler on the ground than if I just see ridden videos. It surprises me (or maybe it shouldn't?) how many horses on those videos haven't got a clue how to lunge and just race round and round.
 

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I thought of this thread yesterday "why do we do groundwork?" well another reason is that a great opportunity presents itself.

Over the weekend they had a jump painting party at the barn, and there was a lot of 'stuff' left outside the door, an old hose just kind of snaking around the floor, a huge chunk of clear plastic that they had used to work on keep the dirt off the painting, trestles, all sorts.

After our ride instead of taking her straight out, we went over and played with everything, walking over the plastic, standing quietly while I flipped the corner up and down, walked over the crazy hose 'maze' she was very good.

So another reason I do ground work, an opportunity presents itself to challenge or learn
 
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You know it gets a bit old, we get that you don't like, get, want to lunge, but everyone is different, some horse/rider combinations like to lunge before they ride, and that is their choice. Now while it CAN mean that there are holes, or that the horse has a bad mind, just maybe it is a great thing for that pair to do.

I find it kind of funny for someone who is so defensive about people saying anything 'down' on WP, who says it's not fair that they always get bashed, well the same can be said when you 'attack' anyone who chooses to lunge.......their horse, their choice, and again not every pair out there lunging has a bad minded horse, or big holes, so why judge them?

Lunging a horse, each time before it is ridden, is a rail rider type of thing, and not saying it is wrong if that is what you mainly do.
I stated what I felt it would mean to me, as I have ridden in both disciplines where lunging is sued quite a bit , and in fact, western pleasure often uses it , at shows, and have also ridden in disciplines where you just won't see it. Reiners, working cowhorses warm up riding. I have yet to see one of them lunge a horse at a show!
I also don't just arena ride, but have to be able to get on a horse, and ride that horse, even after it was tied up all night, in the mountains. If I had to tell those trail riders that I first had to find some level spot , and lunge my horse-they would wonder as to how I would fare on the rest of that ride!
I don't school my horses every day. Often, I will just saddle up and ride off down the road. I have no interest in lunging that horse first, and yes, if I HAD to lunge it first, before riding off, then I would consider there were problems
Does not mean if someone wants to lunge their horse every day, before schooling in an arena it is wrong, but my family, friends, trail riding groups, have always just saddled up broke horses and ridden off
 

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Opportunities come in many ways. I ride at an indoor arena at times, where extreme cowboy trail classes were run, with obstacles left set up.
Yes, handy to drag a log off of my horse, first, with me being on the ground. Also great to ride through the wall of chellenge, into and trough a dark tent.
I am not saying one should never do ground work, nor that there is not a good time for it, nor that a horse should not learn to lunge correctly
Since Smilie is laminitic, there are times I will lunge her first, before riding, just to check out if she is off a bit
All I am saying, once a horse is broke, even though I can lunge it, it knows how to lunge, I should not HAVE to lunge it each time before riidng
 

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Discussion Starter #67
It's very interesting to see the different perspectives here. The trainer I worked with insisted on lunging before every ride, because she thought that it gave you an opportunity to see what kind of mindset you're dealing with on that particular day, on that particular horse, and to get the horse focused on work.

My current riding instructor doesn't lunge every time, but she will lunge a few circles back and forth if we pull the horse out and he seems distracted or the weather is windy or he hasn't been worked in a week. Otherwise we just get on. But that's one horse. I don't know what she does with her others, who are not as well broke and trained as this one.
 

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FWIW, I certainly don't HAVE to lunge my horse for him to be safe. But if there is a modicum of stiffness, I'd like to be able to see it before I get on. I lunged him before he got hurt. He has had a few dramatic injuries in the past that sometimes crop up. I don't lunge into a frenzy, and he's certainly not sweaty or hot by the time I pull him up.
 

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...The trainer I worked with insisted on lunging before every ride, because she thought that it gave you an opportunity to see what kind of mindset you're dealing with on that particular day, on that particular horse, and to get the horse focused on work...
THAT is the approach that drives me nuts. If I can't figure out the mindset of my personal horse during the 10-15 minutes I'm getting him ready, then I have a problem. And my horses, even somewhat unstable Mia, figured out a bridle meant it was time to go to work - even if the work was so mild most horses wouldn't call it work.

Strange horses, or horses coming off of an injury, or simply leading a horse in an unfamiliar environment - those are different. Buying a horse? Different.

My youngest likes to lunge "Steady Eddie" Trooper for a couple of minutes before riding. After 8 years together. No idea why, but it works for the two of them. But every other rider just gets on Trooper, and that works fine too. So what she is doing is more for her benefit than his. He's the same horse regardless. And in 8 years of giving him a short lunge session before riding, she has never found out anything useful...
 

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FWIW, I certainly don't HAVE to lunge my horse for him to be safe. But if there is a modicum of stiffness, I'd like to be able to see it before I get on. I lunged him before he got hurt. He has had a few dramatic injuries in the past that sometimes crop up. I don't lunge into a frenzy, and he's certainly not sweaty or hot by the time I pull him up.
That should say "I NEVER lunged him before he got hurt."
 

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No it isn't.
Maybe a bit of a generalization, and also talking of beyond the initial training under saddle stage, BUT, have you been to stock horse shows, where there are both what is considered all around pleasure type horses, that complete in HUS, equitation,both western and English, western pleasure and trail, plus working horses , showing in reining, working cowhorse, and other cattle events?
You will see those all around rail/equitation horses being lunged early in the morning, before that show starts, but you won't see a reiner or a working cowhorse being lunged
 

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Look, I never said one should never lunge a horse, that it does not in fact, have a very good purpose at times
It is also a fact that groundwork occurs for the entire life of that horse, just by the way he is handled on the ground
However, i use formal ground work, mainly in getting a horse ready to be ridden under saddle, and many people do this. One can also go back to lunging, esp when a horse is first getting used tot he show environment
I already agreed that it is useful for seeing any slight lameness
However, please not the exact wording, and not make incorrect assumptions and generalizations. I never said lunging is useless, should not be done, and certainly, if you need to lunge a horse, to feel okay about getting on, in the sake of safety , do it!
What I said is, "If I HAD " to lunge a broke horse, each time before I rode it, then for me that shows lack of training or mind
I want a horse, broke enough, that I can, if I WANT to, just saddle up and ride
 

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It's become obvious that several of us mean several different things when we say ground work.

Lunging seems to be a big part of it for some. I can't recall lunging a horse since the early 1970's. At that time and place, it was simply considered a lazy mans way of cooling off a hot horse or drying a freshly bathed one. I did use it to get unbroken horses accustomed to the saddle, and to get them to respond to voice commands.

The way folks talk about it now, it seems to have gotten a lot more complicated. But if Jaydee asked me to send a video of a horse being lunged, she would get a horse moving walk, trot, canter, and whoa, with transitions up and down, all in both directions. I'm not sure what else there is.
 

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I would expect that too Cordillera but I know from experience that I shouldn't - to many people lungeing a horse is purely about running it around until its worn out and the horses have no concept at all of obeying any sort of verbal commands.
No Smilie I've never been to a stock horse show. They have Western rail classes at some of the things we go too and barrel racing and gymkhana classes but that's about it
I don't know anyone who lunges a horse just to wear it out before they get on it, its more done to warm a horse up (walking and some trotting for approx. 20 minutes) before a rider gets on to do more intense schooling work or jumping. On the more high end competition yards its the sort of thing a groom does for a professional rider that's got a lot of horses to work in the course of the day though a lot of the warming up sessions are now done on horse walkers
A lot of the horses kept on competition yards are stabled a lot of the time and turnout is just a small dry lot so preparing them for a work session is different to grabbing your horse from a good sized field where its been all day, tacking up and heading out on to the trails though even then you wouldn't normally canter straight out of the yard
 
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