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Pocket Pony
Sep. 28, 2011, 01:02 AM
Do you use lunging as a tool for schooling or fitness? Do you lunge at all? Do you lunge only using side reins? Do you lunge WTC with side reins? Do you lunge over cavaletti? Do you lunge only your green horses, or do you lunge your well-schooled horses as well?

Just curious, as I know people who lunge before every ride, people who don't lunge at all, and people in between.

If it is part of your program, what is your protocol and why do you use it?

If not, why not?

fjording
Sep. 28, 2011, 03:50 AM
I lunge my young horse (four and a half), but not my older Fjord (fifteen).

The young one has a schedual for her because we (my instructor and I) don't want her to get sour.
She gets a ride, a lunge in sidereins the next day, a day off, ride, free lunge over a jump/caveletti (she loves jumping), usually I will have a lesson on a Sunday, and then she will also get a ride out to school in the paddocks just to keep things interesting! So usually it works out about 2 lunges a week, in side reins unless jumping.
So it is pretty important in her schooling.

The fjord gets cranky on the lunge :P

xQHDQ
Sep. 28, 2011, 06:43 AM
As a general rule I don't like to lunge to get a horse tired. However, I would rather someone lunge their horse if they felt they needed to than get hurt getting on a hyper horse. For the first month I had my horse, I threw him on the lunge line when we went to a clinic or show but only to see what he would do - literally it was twice around each direction at the trot. After that I haven't bothered.

I will lunge with side reins if my horse has been in (not worked and not turned out) for more than 3 days. It's both a safety issue for me, and allows the horse to get back into work without me interfering with him. Sort of a gentle transition back into having to move.

When he was just learning to canter and half-halt I lunged him with side reins more often. Sometimes once a week. Much better for him to figure some things out on his own.

Bogie
Sep. 28, 2011, 06:59 AM
I have never lunged my current horse. In the past I've lunged when i think my horse would benefit from working through an issue without a rider or when I've been unable to ride for a long period of time. If I do lunge I start without side reins to warm up, then add them

I have, at times, long lined and also done some work in hand. I try to avoid straight lunging because of the stress it can put on a horse's joints.

coloredhorse
Sep. 28, 2011, 07:27 AM
I use longeing and long-lining quite a bit. It is, obviously, very useful in starting a young horse into work before s/he is put under saddle.

But I use these tools with my mature horses, as well. It lets me see them working ... my eye is often better than my feel/skill in the saddle, and watching them work from the ground helps me target massages and future workouts better. With a horse recovering from an SI injury, the longe/long-line work has been invaluable in carefully easing her back into work. With my elderly horse, a longe workout once a week lets her go through all her paces without the extra weight of a rider. She is sometimes used for longe lessons for beginners, as well, so the longe work keeps her perfectly tuned for that, as well.

I use cavaletti, terrain (long lining/ground driving on hills is a great workout for the human booty, as well as the horse's!), even small jumps; I do everything off the horse that I would do from the saddle. I use side reins, removing them for periodic walk breaks.

I do not use longeing as a tool to "get the bucks out" or tire the horse before riding. That said, as I've gotten older, when the little voice says it might not be the best idea to ride Horse X today, I may very well opt for a longeing workout for the specific purpose of keeping my feet firmly on the ground that day. ;D I also have had a cold-backed horse that, for a time, warmed up much better with a short longe session.

Tonkafriend
Sep. 28, 2011, 07:29 AM
My horse has some back issues, so before every ride I lunge him in both directions w/t/c without the saddle, then put his saddle on and do both directions again. I work him for maybe a total of 10-12 mins with lots of transitions. It keeps him in a happy place, and it help me see how he's moving that day. I use side reins sometimes if I think he needs to really use his back more.

LaraNSpeedy
Sep. 28, 2011, 08:15 AM
I think it goes back to - every horse is different.

I do lunge for fitness and training purposes. I use sidereins sometimes and long line sometimes. I have a TB mare that is 7 who has a crooked canter and after having her totally vetted, chiro and saddle fitted, lunging her without side reins etc and having her go over poles and small jumps as well as a lot of cantering - I lunge her larger than a 20 meter circle - this has improved her canter and strength SO much. I felt it was a lot trying to do this solely when riding her. But I would not do this with my dressage horse - he I rarely lunge but when I do - its for fitness and I dont use sidereins on him.

A client has a horse we use sidereins on because he will not use his back at all without and it really helps him as he came to my barn with back issues - lunging him with the side reins correctly has made a huge positive difference.

My 22 year old exracer who I have pretty much retired as he has a lot of arthritis gets lunged about 3x a week - and he is loose lunged and he goes long and low and stretches himself out nicely - tracks under, stretches up through the back.. - from his dressage training back in the day - still a pleaser!

fish
Sep. 28, 2011, 09:45 AM
I love lungeing and do a lot of it, for both horses and riders. My reasons/protocols are similar to coloredhorse's, with the addition of the usefulness of lungeing to help break tasks into smaller parts to help the training/education of both horses and riders-- i.e., lungeing helps riders to improve their seats and feel of the horse's movements by eliminating the distraction of steering the horse, while lungeing the horse (without rider) enables the horse to focus on his/her balance, movements and responses to the tack without the burden/distraction of carrying a rider.

I've also found lungeing over cavaletti marvelous PT for rehabbing stifle injuries.

Really bugs me to hear/read lungeing dissed. It's a great tool.

thatsnotme
Sep. 28, 2011, 09:59 AM
My current horse gets lunged if she has had 3 days off. She's a baby and 2 days is ok, 3 days and I want to make sure shes ok:) Usually its 10 mins w/o side reins. Also if I'm hauling out for a trail ride to a new place (there are no trails where I board) I'll do a 10 minute lunge w/o side reins prior to loading in the trailer. I usually work her on the lunge with side reins, transitions, etc once or twice a month. It helps me see things and is a quick day for me if I need to work early.

Karosel
Sep. 28, 2011, 10:10 AM
I don't longe my current horse, a homebred 7 year old trakehner mare that I "broke" (hate that word) myself. I never taught her to longe or longline. I just didn't find it necessary for her. Now her older brother I did quite a bit of longlining and some light longing (walk/trot) before I broke him. He was the first horse I trained and I wanted to feel safe and have him at least know some steering and brakes before I got on him. Also, Nova was a big 17.1 horse, and Keira is a 16 HH medium build horse, somehow Nova was a bit more intimidating to get on for the first time. ;)

My mare doesn't even know how to longe, but this winter I think I will teach her. Longing has its place and can be an effective training tool, so I think it's best if Keira at least learns how to longe. I'll likely have her do a little bit of cavelletti and small jumping on the longe.

Sionna
Sep. 28, 2011, 10:13 AM
I pretty much always lunge.

Most of the time I free lunge in a round pen. I tend to do alot of transition work. My goals with lunging tend to be warm-up, fitness and schooling. I have two OTTBs so its good exercise for them and allows me to get a good feel for their frame of mind on any given day.

piaffeprincess98
Sep. 28, 2011, 10:42 AM
I used to lunge my OTTB once a week or so just to teach him how to do it. He was also long-lined for a couple of months when he came off the track. I never saw any real benefit from lunging though. Now I do it once every couple of months just to see how he looks from the ground and to remind him of how to do it. I wanted him to know in case I was ever injured and could only exercise him that way. I usually use side reins.

I'd love to be able to be lunged on him, but he's not always that balanced being lunged, and often gets quicker and falls in on the circle, thus making me have to "ride him" when I'm supposed to be trotting and cantering without reins/stirrups. I think he gets tense too.

The last time I lunged him was a couple of months ago and he was surprisingly calm and steady and listened to my half halts. We did some walk/trot transitions and some leg yields in and out on a circle. I was too afraid to disrupt that by asking him to canter!

I was actually just thinking about trying it again this week to give him an easy day in between his event last week and one this weekend.

With my semi-retired eventer, I've been thinking about trying it again as a way for him to warmup without the burden of a rider. He's quite arthritic from behind.

With my minis, it's the best way to warm them up before I jump them. Plus, I don't get so tired running around! We use mini-sized side reins and a surcingle. I usually have them trot over poles or raised cavaletti.

SisterToSoreFoot
Sep. 28, 2011, 10:56 AM
My horse is 4, and I don't lunge on riding days. I do have a separate "lunge workout" day, typically once every week or every other week. I work him in Vienna reins, WTC.

I have a really busy work schedule, so lunging is effective on days when I have less time (for tacking up, etc) or if I am really exhausted and know I won't put in a good ride. Mostly, though, it helps me keep tabs on how his gaits are developing. I'm quickly finding out that a growing 4 year old is changing ALL THE TIME and things that used to be weaknesses become strengths and vise versa as he develops. I like getting to see this on the lunge because it helps me recognize what I need to target or back off from under saddle.

Petstorejunkie
Sep. 28, 2011, 11:40 AM
I use lunging (and in hand) as a training tool. Most horses, regardless of their level, get at least once a week work on the ground to crisp up footfalls, flexibility, and shape without the burden of a rider.
I have a 2nd level horse (my heart horse) and a 3rd level horse (resale project).... in fact just yesterday I was crisping up the responsiveness of the hind leg on my heart horse in hand. today I'll probably do in hand transitions with the resale boy to quicken his hind leg.
I'll admit, I am a tad lazy and don't always whip out the surcingle and side reins, even though they would make the process so much easier.



I really don't understand the "get the bucks out" every ride crowd. I've never encountered a horse that truly needed that, but have met many who have been conditioned to *think* they do.

SisterToSoreFoot
Sep. 28, 2011, 11:48 AM
I really don't understand the "get the bucks out" every ride crowd. I've never encountered a horse that truly needed that, but have met many who have been conditioned to *think* they do.

I second this. Horses don't have bucks that need getting out! It's the owners/handlers that encourage/allow this response to the lungeline. In my world, tack=work. I think its dangerous to let a horse play on the lungeline, as well as teaching them that they can act up and blow off their handler. If my horse seems dangerously fresh, I might let him loose in the indoor to play before I tack up. If he's on the lungeline, its worktime. Period. No bucking, no ignoring me, no blasting around.

Sorry for the mini-rant. Just a HUGE pet peeve of mine.

SendenHorse
Sep. 28, 2011, 11:56 AM
No, I don't longe much. Its hard on the joints. I longe maybe once a week (if that) with sidereins for a change of pace from riding.

dwblover
Sep. 28, 2011, 12:16 PM
I used lungeing in the very beginning with my OTTB. I use sidereins that have a surgical tubing insert which make them VERY giving and makes the contact more stable than traditional sidereins. I believe it is very helpful for teaching the horse to be soft in the contact and gives them the idea of softening the poll/flexing a bit. But I believe sidereins cannot teach a horse to reach forward to the contact because they are fixed, so after the initial work I don't lunge anymore. I believe educated hands on a good rider are far more productive then any lungeing device.

INoMrEd
Sep. 28, 2011, 12:23 PM
I hardly ever lunge. The only time would be if I am going away to a clinic or something and want to control sassiness.

Tiger Horse
Sep. 28, 2011, 12:25 PM
I probably lunge a couple of times a week - sometimes because I don't have enough time to saddle up and ride. Other times before I ride, esp in the winter months, to set the tone and try to get some focus.

Brindisi
Sep. 28, 2011, 12:35 PM
My horse has some back issues, so before every ride I lunge him in both directions w/t/c without the saddle, then put his saddle on and do both directions again. I work him for maybe a total of 10-12 mins with lots of transitions. It keeps him in a happy place, and it help me see how he's moving that day. I use side reins sometimes if I think he needs to really use his back more.

Similar story here. Horse can be very girthy so I girth up gradually, having a trot and canter each way before going up another hole or two. Usually no more than 10min unless he's having a sensitive day, and I don't bother with any gear if I'm planning to jump on.

He also has a history of sacroiliac problems which have been managed with lots of long and low work, including on the lunge. As he's a bit "special" I don't normally ride without someone present so he often gets several lunges a week to keep him going in between rides. I use runnings reins rather than side reins as he is less likely to curl or brace and happier to stretch down in them.

Have another horse with problems (hollow backed and weak right stifle) who is coming back into work after a year off. I lunged him for 4 weeks, long and low in running reins before getting on. Maybe 3 times a week? I now do his trot work under saddle but he isn't strong enough for canter work under saddle yet - so I intend to add in one or two lunge sessions a week to do the canter work until he's strong enough under saddle.


I would avoid spelling the first horse (sold him 6mth ago and just purchased back) - if he mentally needs a break from flatwork, I will probably cut him back to 2-3 lunge sessions a week, perhaps with a few fun outings, trails, etc. But he always needs to be kept ticking over. If he did have a big spell, he would be brought back in with several weeks of lunging preparation like I did with horse #2.



I seriously hate lunging, would much rather be in the saddle! But it is a very beneficial tool for my two so I suck it up and do it anyway :)

Tiger Horse
Sep. 28, 2011, 12:43 PM
[QUOTE=SisterToSoreFoot;5864240] Horses don't have bucks that need getting out! [QUOTE]

You haven't met my horse then!!

However, he is not allowed to play on the lunge line. When he needs to blow - he gets turned out in the indoor and is encouraged to let loose. He doesn't play much in regular turnout - his buddy would rather crib than play.

netg
Sep. 28, 2011, 12:55 PM
When boarding, I would longe prior to turnout to warm him up so he wouldn't pull anything when he let loose in turnout - and he LET LOOSE in turnout. Now that he has more than an acre to himself, that's no longer necessary and he runs often but more mildly since he can run any time he wants.

I longe with a cavesson if I don't have time to ride but he needs work. I can control bend and head position better with that than with side reins. I do longe him in side reins, though, when stretching down/out needs to be reinforced. I put the reins just short enough there's not danger of him stepping on them, and that's enough to make him remember stretching and how good it feels. I just longed him in side reins the other day because all the collected work we've been doing has had the effect of making him less interested in stretching. I longe about once every two weeks on average, but definitely no set schedule.

Both my horse and my mom's horse were out of work for a while before we got them, and I longed both to help build fitness and balance without a rider. It helped them both come back into work nicely.

CatPS
Sep. 28, 2011, 02:00 PM
I always lunge my older guy before a lesson or a serious ride. He is very well schooled (teaches me new stuff every time!) and is quiet and willing, but he and I tend to brace against each other for various reasons, especially if the warmup doesn't go well. I lunge him for no more than 10 minutes, with side reins, WTC both directions. As soon as he gives to the contact and moves reasonably through and round in all gaits, we're done. When I get on we go straight into some lateral exercises at the walk for another 10 minutes, and then we're usually ready to get down to business. For him it has nothing whatsoever to do with getting any extra energy out - in fact, the lunging is really more to get him going forward properly and yielding to the contact in both directions. Both my trainer and I can tell a big difference between lesson days when I have lunged versus those that I have not.

fjording
Sep. 28, 2011, 05:23 PM
so, a question about lunging.
How do you correct a young horse on the lunge when they decide to speed up? Not just upwards gaits, but when I ask my 4 year old to canter, she will usually canter, and then sometimes she starts to run? It's hard to explain, but she sort of mini takes off.
I don't want to pull her over because she is still a bit wobbly on circles, I have tried to pull her into me but she looses her balance and gets a fright.

mbm
Sep. 28, 2011, 06:10 PM
It Depends :)

If i am lunging, then i don't use side reins for cantering. and i always have the side reins LOOSE - no cranking them down - ever.

i generally try to double lunge instead of regular lunge as it gives me an outside rein.

i am working a youngster now, and lunging is part of the routine, but generally i don't use side reins, altho i do lunge in them maybe once every two weeks to help him build his back muscles - and learn to stretch into the contact. they are on long enough so he can stretch down/out and engage his back/belly muscles.... i only trot in them.

we do lunge him before i ride him (i have been riding him 1x/week and now we are going up to 2x week) if i worked him the day before i dont lunge before i get on. but usually i spend at least half the riding session on the lunge as he has only been ridden 15 times give or take.... and he still has some issues with understanding and bending tracking right.... once we feel he is better prepared to "solo" (no lunge line) then we will not lunge while i sit on him.


i sometimes use lunging to allow my WB mare to yahoo around.... she likes to buck and leap around and never EVER pulls... so i let her.
i used to dbl lunge her quite a bit to teach her to really use her back. now i rarely do.

i guess really lunging is a good tool if used correctly and not overdone (too small circle, too long, too tight side reins, etc)

i would also generally use bandages for lunging.

mbm
Sep. 28, 2011, 06:17 PM
I second this. Horses don't have bucks that need getting out! It's the owners/handlers that encourage/allow this response to the lungeline. In my world, tack=work. I think its dangerous to let a horse play on the lungeline, as well as teaching them that they can act up and blow off their handler.
.

well, poo - you haven't met my mare, who is a lady and very well behaved, who would never ever pull, be naughty etc.

BUT. she is extremely athletic and she likes to leap around sometimes.... so i let her. she doenst do it under saddle...and it seems to help her "get the kinks out" <shrug> i even tried to teach her that when i said "buck" to leap but it didnt work :(

never say never :)

mbm
Sep. 28, 2011, 06:23 PM
so, a question about lunging.
How do you correct a young horse on the lunge when they decide to speed up? Not just upwards gaits, but when I ask my 4 year old to canter, she will usually canter, and then sometimes she starts to run? It's hard to explain, but she sort of mini takes off.
I don't want to pull her over because she is still a bit wobbly on circles, I have tried to pull her into me but she looses her balance and gets a fright.

horses speed up if they are losing balance. so is she losing balance? if so make the circle bigger.

if it is just her being cheeky, then reduce the circle size until she slows down to the speed you request, then let her out again. repeat until she understands that when you said "canter" you mean x speed.

if reducing the circle size isnt helping, i would make sure she has enough turn out time to blow off steam, and/or free work her in an arena so she can become drivable ( when you need to push them a bit to work)

be sure to also teach her to come more forward in canter and less so.... so different speeds within the gait.

we use "come" to mean more forward and "brrrrt" to mean slow down or come down a gait.

Carol O
Sep. 28, 2011, 10:59 PM
I lunge my young horse frequently (6 yo friesian mare). I will lunge her in tack with side reins, but more often, at home, we just free lunge with tack or without. I urge her onward until she stretches over her topline; I push her forward until she relaxes and stretches.

I started a thread about a month ago on this forum about lunging with or without side reins (Side reins or no? 8/10/2011). I was taking her to a show at the time, and she has not been out much, so she gets very hot in new places. I lunged her the first day at the show in side reins, and she settled right into her work, and was quite ride-able in short order. The next day I experimented and lunged without side reins. Big mistake; she was psycho with the freedom. All day I heard comments from those who saw her demostration of aires above the ground. At home we are more casual; I can get results quicky with less tack (or more), but away I will always go with side reins now.

Post #6 from Dutch Lovin" Dressage Rider in the above mentioned thread (Side reins or no?) listed reasons for lunging. Mine at the time fell under C#2," ...warm up for horses which are too fresh...". That post is worth going back to look at IMO.

Pocket Pony
Sep. 29, 2011, 01:01 AM
Ok, so some people brought up the issue of side reins - how short or how long do you leave them (if you use them at all)? Do you have pictures to demonstrate? And do you use a lunging cavesson, or just a regular bridle?

Do most people lunge without side reins at the canter? Does anybody lunge with side reins at the canter?

I'm not big into lunging...it is a tool I have in my tool box, but I don't use it a lot. I've had various horses over the years who respond differently to it - one former h/j horse who only sees it as a spin around a circle to get his kicks out. Another who for some reason is aggressive on the lunge line but not so u/s. Another who is perfectly fine on the lunge and u/s so I don't really differentiate. It is good to be able to see them go on the line and I like it for some exercises, but it just isn't something I use a lot.

Interesting to hear how others use it, so thanks for the feedback!

mbm
Sep. 29, 2011, 01:34 AM
re: side reins.

unless a horse is fairly collected it will need its neck in canter and walk to bascule. if it is not allowed to do so generally the back will tighten and teh gaits get stiffened. once it is collected to fairly moderate degree that bascule will decrease.

since i assume folks want to increase suppleness and elasticity and freedom of the gaits, then using sidereins only in trot is what seems to make the most sense (?)

as for length, they need to be long enough for the horse to reach into them and create a contact, but short enough so horse isnt nose to ground or on the forehand - the length is again all about how trained the horse is etc.

i generally like to have the length to the place where horse is reaching and the back can swing. you need to experiment where that is. definitely an open throatlatch and not btv.

coloredhorse
Sep. 29, 2011, 10:17 AM
Ok, so some people brought up the issue of side reins - how short or how long do you leave them (if you use them at all)? Do you have pictures to demonstrate? And do you use a lunging cavesson, or just a regular bridle?

When I longe or long-line, the workout duplicates what I would do under saddle, just w/o a rider aboard. That means that the rein length changes from loose (e.g., side reins off) to a light huntery contact (adjusted longer) to a shorter rein (adjusted shorter) appropriate to the horse's strength and ability to sit, back to longer, etc. There are regular no-side rein walk breaks, similar to walk breaks on a floppy rein if I were in the saddle.

Longeing absolutely does NOT have to be spinning the horse on the same circle with side reins set at the same length the whole workout (or w/o side reins at all). You can do everything from the ground that you can do from the saddle ... and keeping up with transitions within trot and canter makes for an awesome workout for flabby middle-aged humans, too. :D I am often huffing more than the horse when it comes time for those walk breaks.

As to tack, I have a proper cavesson that I use sometimes. Other times, I will just pull the reins from a horse's regular bridle. When I am super-lazy, I have a simple french link snaffle on a bradoon hanger that I use as a "longeing bridle." I usually use a surcingle in place of a saddle unless I am intending to either ride the walk warmup before the longeing workout or if I plan to hop on at some point to feel what I have been seeing.

katarine
Sep. 29, 2011, 11:19 AM
about 25% of my rides I longe to warm the horse up, look for any tightness or stiffness, and I do lots of walking first just to get the horse dailed in, then gait/trot/then transitions up down, as often as every circle or 3/4 of a circle- I never, ever, never longe to tire a horse out- so from circle one, we're replicating the sort of work we'd do u/s. Otherwise I don't longe the other 75% of my rides. Some days I know I'm too distracted to ride well, and I find longeing him to be soothing and productive.

I mix it up with side reins- I like fixed reins, equal length. I only have low level horses so I attach the SRs to the girth rings or lowest rings on the surcingle. I have one horse who is decidedly stiff traveling to the left- so that longe line gets run to his withers, through the bit and out to my hand. He's polite and not one to lean...but this helps me request and maintain bend- and I have to be scrupulous in monitoring he doesn't just bend his neck. Traveling right I just run it over his poll to the opposite bit ring. I will sometimes warm up sans SRs, to see if he's willing to reach down and out or his he flipping me the bird today.
I want him to reach to find the ends of the SRs...I want that nose in a training level 'frame' as much as I'm allergic to that word= that's the shape I want him in as we do tons of transitions ; walk/gait/walk/canter/gait/walk/gait/walk/canter/whoa....I mix it up. I also use cavaletti to keep it fresh.

GoingUp...POP!
Sep. 29, 2011, 11:27 AM
It depends on the horse. In the winter I HAVE to lunge one of my WB geldings, he is hard enough to handle, let alone fresh and chilly. I don't lunge him into the ground or anything, we focus on a lot of transitions and trotting, mainly taking the edge off.

I really don't like to lunge to school or tire, running around in a small circle isn't the best for them, whereas a good hack really allows them to warm up and work easy (and you can tell if they are off).

I do like round pen work with my babies, they need to know the commands,WTC, WHOA! I use side reins mainly to get them ready for long reining (which has always been VERY helpful). Side reins alone have never really gotten me great results.

Foxtrot's
Sep. 29, 2011, 11:31 AM
It is harder on the feet and joints of a big footed horse esp on harder ground, i.e. at a show when there is no turnout. Prefer to hack.

purplnurpl
Sep. 29, 2011, 02:41 PM
I really don't understand the "get the bucks out" every ride crowd. I've never encountered a horse that truly needed that, but have met many who have been conditioned to *think* they do.

I understand it for a different purpose now. I started working with a horse who was poorly broke and ended up VERY girthy.

I'd quick lunge to make sure she wasn't going to get claustrophobic and start hopping as soon as I got on and asked her to take a step. :yes:

She is well enough broke now that I don't lunge her anymore for that purpose. But I will jog her out before I get on.

purplnurpl
Sep. 29, 2011, 02:45 PM
I lunge and work in hand.

I taught my last horse to extend down the long side on the lunge line.
I'd run down the arena with him. It was soooo fun to see.

It just depends on the horse. Current paint gelding sucks on the lunge and I make no progress so I don't lunge him.

I have a little QH who is transitioning from a different dicipline and she needs the lunge to learn about contact. She's softer when she's lunged once or twice a week.

If I have a horse that won't hold the bit properly I usually don't lunge them.

My very 1st horse I never lunged. Then I had coach teach me. Said horsie went really well in a german neck stretcher.
Doing this increased my scores in the canter too.

I really like the vienna slide rein and probably use it the most of all the tools.

mishmash
Sep. 30, 2011, 09:26 AM
I remember when my 20+ year old Morgan was first diagnosed with arthritis-and I was told no lunging by my vet. I do think it is hard on a horses joints to be lunged for a long period of time, or routinely. Limiting lunging will promote the long term soundness of your horse.
I lunge my 14 year old some-as little as possible. he tends to have trouble focusing, and getting into work mode, and lunging briefly helps with this.
I will lunge the 7 year old as needed. Very rarely, but there has been a 20 degree temp drop here today, and when I go out to the barn, he will be put on the lunge line in case there are some hijinks in there. I also lunged at Regionals this past weekend-he is used to being out 24-7 and being in a stall made for a very fresh horse.
I certainly think it is ok to lunge for obedience, focus, and to get the bucks out, on an as needed basis. But if you are lunging a lot EVERY time you ride, that is probably too much-or you have too much horse for your riding ability.
I do have a couple of friends who tend to lunge a lot-I think mainly because of fear. If your horses sides are heaving, and he is dripping wet before you get on-and he is a QUIET horse-the rider obviously has some issues.

The 14 yo is lunged in Vienna side reins-if I didn't use them, he would be gazing around all over the place, and the purpose of the lunge work is to get his mind in work mode. The 7 year old I do not use any side reins on-just a few times around to see if there is naughtiness in there-if not, we are done.

coloredhorse
Sep. 30, 2011, 12:16 PM
I do think it is hard on a horses joints to be lunged for a long period of time, or routinely. Limiting lunging will promote the long term soundness of your horse.

This is only true if all you are doing is spinning the horse on a circle when you longe. I've had vets tell me the same thing ... until they saw me longe a horse. Comments quickly changed to things like "That work is very beneficial to X, Y or Z" and "I wish everyone longed like you do."

FWIW, I have a sound 22yo who is longed once a week, and have worked with several other horses who have been sound into their dottage who have had regular longeing/long-lining/in-hand work as part of their routines.

I'm not saying that those who choose not to incorporate these particular tools are doing anything wrong. There are many, many roads to Rome and most of them have value. I'm just pointing out that the assumption that longeing = too much stress on joints (or soft tissue) is not a universal.