You probably know of someone that simply rides the horse without any training or extra activity. It is possible depending on the type of horse and the owner. However, lunging is an important aspect for every horse owner. Once a horse is dead broke you may not need to lunge a horse before riding it as they are more calm and relaxed. But when it comes to getting them in shape it is a must.
So what is lunging a horse mean? This is all about holding the horse by a long string then restrict and allow it to move in circles around you. It is basically training horse to obey commands. It also helps the horse to exercise and burn fats.
You don’t have to organize for a long trip to ride your horse as a technique to help it burn fat. While that is probably the best way to exercise your horse because it should naturally be in the wild covering long distances, you can do it at home. Also, you might not enjoy the riding experience if you do not have the same language with your horse. It should understand your acceleration, stop, and turn commands as basics.
Besides the common reason for exercise and training it to be obedient and sharp to your instructions, it is also about the horse’s health. Lunging increases flexibility of the horse’s muscles, on not only the legs but also the neck and every part of the body. It is an important exercise, especially if the horse has not been working. It enhances physical fitness.
As the horse moves around you in different speeds and sudden stops depending on your controls, you can easily see if there is any defect on its legs. Lameness on horse’s gaits is a common concern with domestic horses, which stay for several days without working.
Additionally, you learn rider skills while off the horse’s back. Regular lunging is also a bonding strategy with your horse. You can ride better without bothering about hard controls because the horse understands.
What do I need for lunging?
Lunging is more than a training session, it is an interesting experience with your horse. Therefore, before you go to lunging your horse for the first time, you should have everything ready.
Here are some essentials;
- A lunge line at least 30 meters long to allow space for the horse to rotate
- Instead of a rope, but a flat webbing for easy handling; it is also lighter than a horse
- Either find a sturdy halter, lunge whip or lunging cavesson. Either of these is suitable depending on your preference. Most people find cavessons tedious
- Protect your horse’s legs with exercise boots or wraps because lunging can get rigorous. It also depends with the ground you choose
- To enhance focus of your horse on the exercise, do it in a confined area like an arena, ring or round pen where there are less distractions. This is crucial for first lunging sessions.
- Wear sturdy boots to avoid skidding or sliding
- Horse’s are powerful; to prevent rope burn, make sure you are wearing gloves
- A helmet is also important as a safety measure. A horse is not dangerous but it is powerful. You never know.
- Clear your voice because it is the main tool in lunging.
Lunging seems obvious and easy but the results might not be impressive and you might be disappointed with the first session if you do not take some factors into consideration.
Lack of communication
First, you should build trust with your horse. There should be a strong connection between you two for the lunging to be successful. A horse should relax to learn and listen to your instructions. Lunging can be difficult and ineffective if you acquired the horse after it is mature. It is easier to bond, communicate, and establish trust with a horse if you have been with it since it was a colt or filly.
Dressing the horse
How you tie the lung line on the horse jaws has a lot to do with experience of a lunging session. You should make sure the horse is comfortable. You may not know how fitting the lung line is until you are in the arena and you begin to pull and push. If it is too tight and the inner jaw is uncomfortable, you will notice the reaction of the horse once it gets to specific parts of the circle. Don’t ignore complains from the horse and continue with your instructions, you might be crippling your relationship for good.
First timers are likely to confuse the horse because of wrong language choice. Do not use the same sign when instructing the horse to slow down and when you want it to throttle. It will be frustrated. Some horses get angry and some run away from the frustration. If you feel the horse is pulling away, do not force it back to the circle. Always be conscious of its nature and needs. Wrong language will not achieve purpose of a lunging session. It should be about exercise and learning but if it can’t differentiate your gestures and sounds, you won’t achieve any of these.
- Find the right tools and prepare adequately before starting a lunging session
- Win the horse’s trust and confidence before you begin lunging sessions
- Familiarize with a horse’s nature and preferences to determine suitability of your instructions.
- Take your time there is no rush
- At first start with short sessions, even 5 minutes then work your way up
- Make sure to walk your horse down after an intense session
- A cool bath on a warm day is never a bad idea
- No grain or feed until they cool down hay okay
- Work both directions for symmetry
That’s it watch some videos get out there and work with your horse they will love it trust me.