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  1. #1
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    Nov. 13, 2011
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    Default When to lunge?

    I am leasing an 8 year old who was started late but now has the basics on walk, trot and canter well established. We're starting to work on collection and we're slowly making progress. He is a quiet horse and now that he's gotten over his bolting issues, I usually don't see a reason to lunge him before a ride, because he doesn't need to get "settled down" and I always warm up at the beginning of the ride. So I was wondering, considering the horse's age and training, would you think it appropriate to lunge before riding, or is lunging to keep him in shape only if I can't ride enough? Aside from me riding him 3 times a week he's also in the lesson program and he has about 2 hours work a day from tuesday to sunday.

    Also, what are the benefits of lunging a horse to you?
    Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by DottieHQ View Post
    You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 9, 2000
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    California
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    Default

    I never lunge to "settle a horse down" - I figure if they are amped up and need to move, it is probably better for everyone if I get on their back, get up in a light seat, and canter forward so they can blow it out. I don't like them to go willy-nilly and spin around on the lunge line.

    I do lunge to work on ground work, to get my horse to pay attention to me, to see how he's moving, to let him stretch down and out without a rider up, to work on voice commands, things like that.
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2011
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    Default

    I never longe before I ride as a means to settle a horse down.

    On a trained horse, I use longing as a way to pack a workout into a day where I don't have time to actually ride.



  4. #4
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    Sep. 26, 2010
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    Default

    Whether to longe or not depends on the situation. I don't think there is necessarily one right answer.

    I agree that longing to let a horse "blow off steam" is not a good thing. A horse should pay attention and be ready to work whether it's on the longe, on longlines or with a rider up. If a horse needs to run, play, buck or whatever, that should be done in turnout. It shouldn't do this on the longe otherwise a bad habit could get created.

    With that said, I do longe my horse under certain circumstances. In the winter, the horses at my barn get less turnout as I imagine is the case for many other people. I've found that 5-10 min. on the longe helps immensely for warming my horse up (particularly her back) so that she is more focused when I do get on. I could certainly could just hop on and do a full warmup under saddle, but that generally takes longer, sometimes a good 20 min. before she is really ready to listen. That kind of thing is tiring me out right now as I try to balance lots of extra riding, more demanding lessons, and getting my @$$ back to the gym to improve my own cardiovascular and muscular fitness.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003
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    Default

    Yeah, my 3 year old hasn't been ridden since last Sunday and it's suddenly COLD and WINDY! I lunged her before my lesson today, lol

    I typically lunge maybe once a week as groundwork, but sometimes for safety sake I'll let a baby in the winter warm up on the lungeline.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 15, 2012
    Location
    Taft, TN
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    289

    Default

    Most of the time I don't longe the older horses, but I have no problem sticking a young or green horse on the longe line before I get one to get there attention and see what kind of mood they are in that day. It's still part of their work- it's not play time- so they are usually in side reins, at least on loosely to minimize the amount of playing they can do, and are doing transitions and working on their voice commands (woah is a really good one for a green TB to know!). Other than that, I will put my mare on the longe line if I don't have her attention in the barn and I want to get her brain in the right place before I get on her (which is much less stressful for both of us) or if I want to watch how a horse is moving. I also find longing to be useful with the babies at their first shows : )



  7. #7
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    Oct. 30, 2009
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    Default

    LOL. I find that longeing usually wakes a horse up more than settles them down.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
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    Triangle Area, NC
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    Default

    Lunging is an art. The only horse in my program that doesn't get lunged is my half blind endurance/eventer. He blows up on his blind side, so we just don't use it for him.
    Think of lunging as a Balance Lesson for the horse where they get to focus just on their own performance instead of having the added processing of a rider on their back. It's like a ballerina working 'on the bar' with mirrors in front of their instructor
    Even my PSG horse gets lunged twice a week in a snaffle bridle before riding. It gives him that Balance Lesson that I can then build on in the saddle immediately following, and it lets me SEE where he physically is in his training.

    A really good book on young horses (and lunging uses) is Nature, Nurture, and Horses by Paul Belasik.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble


    2 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2011
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    I longe 1-2x a week as a break from riding. Sometimes over poles, sometimes in side reins. My horse really enjoys the change of pace. I like to use it as a way to get him to stretch down after a few days of more challenging work.

    Generally not a fan of too much longing or side rein work on green horses-- really depends on the horse-- but can be overused and stress the joints.



  10. #10
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    Well, to be fair, "settle down" was probably not the best choice of words. By settle down I mean getting the horse focused on the training and on you. I've seen the younger horses benefit from a lunging session by getting more focused before a ride. I didn't mean it as let the horse go wild on the lunge. I certainly don't find it safe.

    I've used it on occasion when i couldn't ride for some reason but I haven't felt the need to use it as a means to get the horse focused, as he usually settles into the work schedule pretty easily. I've found that working on the the whoa while lunging is easier for some reason, however. Stopping is still a work in progress with this particular horse, as he does not like to stand at attention and would much rather keep moving under saddle. On the lunge, however, he will stand still or walk toward me if I'm not asking him to move.
    Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by DottieHQ View Post
    You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.



  11. #11
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    Never let him walk towards you! If he starts to turn in, immediately send him forward, and insist on an immediate response. Having a horse walk towards you on a lunge line could put you in the hospital one day.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    Never let him walk towards you! If he starts to turn in, immediately send him forward, and insist on an immediate response. Having a horse walk towards you on a lunge line could put you in the hospital one day.
    I guess you make a good point. Because he's so quiet on the ground, I let him move towards me and I really shouldn't. But he's never been pushy on the lunge. He gets a bit pushy if he knows I'm about to set him loose in the indoor but if I got the lunge line in my hand he knows it's time to work. I have free lunged him with the halter rope to see his reaction and he was taken off guard the first time but soon learned to settle down.
    In fact, this horse is lot more quiet on the ground than he is under saddle. Go figure.
    Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by DottieHQ View Post
    You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.



  13. #13
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    Jan. 5, 2009
    Location
    Central, FL
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    Default

    So you just described my horse who is also 8 and started late and is now going good when we got over our bolting issue. Lol anyway right now we are lunging before every ride. Pony isn't ever hot so we don't lunge for that we lunge for elasticity and to establish forward. Pony can get tight through his back and lunging helps a lot. We lunge on a decent sized circle always praising forward and he's only 14.2 so really no excess joint strain on him.

    I was talking to my trainer today and she is a huge supporter of lunging. Why sit on a tight back whether its from stress, stiffness or whatever why not associates riding with thoroughness and elasticity and take away the tension prior to even sitting on them. I'm inclined to agree.
    --Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity--



  14. #14
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    Jun. 1, 2002
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    Indiana
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    Default

    I lunge anything that needs to work on whoa, cantering on a 20m circle, or anything that is very green or very fresh. They still have to pay attention but I want them to warm up and settle in a bit.

    Since your horse is ridden 3 days a week by you AND is a lesson horse I would never lunge him.



  15. #15
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    Oct. 27, 2010
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    Midwest
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    Default

    When I lunge, it's primarily for muscle development. I'm a very one-sided rider as a result of an accident, and this summer I exclusively lunged my green pony for several weeks because I, as the rider, was impeding his development under saddle. Lunging gave him the muscles he needed to be able to do what I was asking him to do, corrected the one-sidedness I'd accidentally instilled in him, and when I started riding again, made all the difference. Since I'm not a super accomplished rider, I continue to lunge every so often to reinforce those ideas even now that we're farther along.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by enjoytheride View Post
    I lunge anything that needs to work on whoa, cantering on a 20m circle, or anything that is very green or very fresh. They still have to pay attention but I want them to warm up and settle in a bit.

    Since your horse is ridden 3 days a week by you AND is a lesson horse I would never lunge him.
    See, that's the kind of reasoning I've been following. He gets his warm up under saddle and he's ridden plenty so I don't worry much about lunging him. If I'm unable to ride him for an expended period of time I might lunge him to continue his training from the ground.
    Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by DottieHQ View Post
    You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.



  17. #17
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    Nov. 13, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justmyluck View Post
    So you just described my horse who is also 8 and started late and is now going good when we got over our bolting issue.
    Hooray for having "twin" horses!
    Mine doesn't get back stiffness though, he just gets lazy when I ask him to use his back more, so he tries to speed his way out of it. So there's really no forward lacking on that one. He could use more whoa, but the whoa i just fine on the lunge, he gets more antsy under saddle.
    Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by DottieHQ View Post
    You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.



  18. #18
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    Aug. 28, 2007
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    Actually, that sounds like a balance issue, indicative of a horse who isn't truly forward. Think of a kid running down a hill taking lots of little steps.
    He would benefit from some trot halts in hand, and lunging.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  19. #19
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    Trot halts? I never thought about it. OK, I'll give it a try.
    Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by DottieHQ View Post
    You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.



  20. #20
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    Aug. 28, 2007
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    They need to be prompt, hind end tucking under evenly, legs first (like a goose landing on water).
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



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