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Opinions on longing

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  • Opinions on longing

    I've heard many differing opinions on how long to longe a horse before it gets taxing on their legs and I'm wondering what really does everyone consider the best. I've been told anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour is acceptable.
    "A horse doesn't care how much you know until he knows how much you care."

    "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of fight in the dog."

  • #2
    I think 10 or at most 15 minutes, with continual changes of direction and without having the horse 'torque around' is acceptable as far as avoiding wear and tear on the legs. I would avoid it as much as possible with youngsters, and keep longeing sessions even shorter with them or dispense with it altogether.

    Comment


    • #3
      This depends on what type of horse you are working. if it is a younger one, i would say keep it short. but if you are working an older horse and you are working it correctly, i have worked mine close to an hour. this also depends on how he is feeling and if he is listening/fresh/naughty/whatever. i work mine until he is calmly listening and responding. but for me lunging is for a day that i am not riding or a day when he has had a few days off. so lunging is work for him and i want him to be ready to work the next day.

      Comment


      • #4
        It depends as was said what type of horse, but also what are you working on? What is your reason for lunging, young horse.... safe to get on...when they look reasonably like I can get on and stay on. (We lunge all the young ones on Mondays as they had two days off, then ride)
        Older horse to loosen, short maybe 10 minutes...again probably a Monday
        Working on making better transitions on the LL...again, could be 15 mns..
        Probably for me sessions go 10-20 mins, never have I lunged an hour unless it was for vaulting....then we did many walk breaks.
        Riding is not a gentle hobby to be picked up and laid down. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.

        Comment


        • #5
          I read the title and was thinking you were longing for a horse.

          I personally don't ever do it, but then again the kind of horses I ride really don't benefit from it.
          Veterinarians for Equine Welfare

          Comment


          • #6
            I never lunge my horses.
            My guys are really big and in their case it's not beneficial. I find going round their axle so to speak over & over again on those biggy's doesn't necessarily help their hind end all that much, as it's tough to control their movement on the lunge. I'd rather hop on.
            Perhaps I'm rather negative about lunging as my one guy has iffy stiffles. But even with the other guy I still don't feel lunging serves him any purpose, and moreover he absolutely hates it.

            An hour on the lunge , well provided lots of walks are incorporated in that then, else imo that's a long time to go round & round & round. Actually how do you keep a horse's attention on the lunge for an hour?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by slc2 View Post
              I think 10 or at most 15 minutes, with continual changes of direction and without having the horse 'torque around' is acceptable as far as avoiding wear and tear on the legs. I would avoid it as much as possible with youngsters, and keep longeing sessions even shorter with them or dispense with it altogether.
              That seems to be a rather short amount of time for healthy horses in regular work. I lunge on 20m circles with 5-10 min of walk just to warm up. Your telling me that be too much already? I think it depends on circle size and allowing a proper warm up. I know of young horse's hocks being significantly damaged from lunging on wayyy to small of circles for exended periods of time, so I definately agree with that.

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              • #8
                As a kid, I was always taught that time on the longe equated to twice the amount of time of regular riding and wear on the joints. So, 20 minutes of longe line is the same as 40 minutes of riding. Simple walking for 5 or 10 minutes isn't bad before real work, but I can't even conceive of longing for an hour.
                Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I do five minutes each way - MAX. (Oh, except when I took Baby to his first comp and he was a lunatic every time I took him back to the float and attempted to get on, he'd pull back and carry on, so I'd lunge him some more. Then I realised he didn't uinderstand "tired" and sent him eventing.)

                  If you need to walk for that long - stick the horse in a paddock. Or sit on it. I only lunge mine if I fear for my safety otherwise. I admit, it can be a good educational tool, but get the work done quickly!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    No, I am not telling you what you do is too much. I am telling you what I do, and why.

                    People don't learn anything from being told what to do or being shamed, I don't think anyone will learn that way, they just get p***** off. They learn from seeing what the results are of how they themselves do things.

                    I would not longe any horse for an hour, I would not longe more than 10-15 minutes. It is too much circling, and too much repetition for me and for my horse, and I do not want to do a lot of repetition with my horses both to preserve their mental as well as their physical freshness, nor do I want to use up the miles they have in their legs that way.

                    And I agree with other posters here, that longeing is completely out for me with a larger growthier horse. I would especially minimize it with a big gawky animal who doesn't have too good a balance. While some feel the longe is the place to teach these big youngsters to balance, I would not do that. I believe it's too easy for my horses to get hurt that way.

                    I believe a horse, every horse, has an odometer in their legs, and that I use up those miles, however I use them up, you use them up, and when I have done that, I'm done with that horse. I believe in trying to use each one of those miles as efficiently as I possibly can.

                    I also believe no one really knows what that odometer is set at, but I do feel it's set lower with the less than perfectly conformed horse. A little heaviness in the shoulders, a little bit of a weak back, a little bit of a small, short hindquarter, a little bit of a straight, inflexible hock, over the years, those things are going to catch up with a horse. I want to stretch out the horse's period of progressing up the levels as much as possible, and have the horse reach as high a level as possible. I'm going to do that with enough work to get him fit and constantly build his fitness, but not one step extra. to increase his fitness, I prefer riding, hacking, brief periods of longeing, and exercisers like the eurociser where he is straight part of the time - swimming (where he is straight the entire time), hilll work, lots of walking, lots of turnout, etc.

                    If my horse needs more activity to settle down enough that I can ride him, I turn him out. I would prefer him to simply walk around a pasture or paddock for 6-10 hrs instead of longeing him.

                    If he's constantly too frisky to ride, I reduce his grain and feed a less rich hay, and try to get him out of his stall more often. Aside from that, what I've found is that most horses aren't frisky for any of those reasons. They're frisky because they simply don't get ridden often enough. There are horses that one just cannot ride 3x a week and get any good work out of. So what I would do with that horse is ride it more often. Not longe it longer.

                    I don't even do an extra circle when I'm riding, I was taught not to take one extra step that can be avoided.

                    Vaulting horses may longe for a long time, but they are walked alot and change direction frequently. If they don't, they'll have the same repetition, wear on their legs and monotonous drilling any horse would have with longeing for an hour.

                    That's how I see it. I'm not telling you what to do. I'm saying what I do, and why. Longeing, especially for long periods of time, is an extremely established and very strongly defended part of riding in America, and it's not going to change.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Like most things, "it depends".

                      Do you lunge in a lunge ring, and if so, what size? The size of the circle will dictate how much wear the legs receive. My horses are lunged by my groom in the jumping paddock and are not worked on a circle, but rather in a large area and over poles.

                      Why are you lunging? What leg protection do you use? What is the surface like? Do you lunge in a gadget? How sensible is your horse on the lunge? Do you lunge over poles?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I would rather turn out before lunging, as my horse has stifle issues. But I've never been much of a lunger - I would rather ride more often and turn out more/tweak the feed, etc.

                        Those bucks you see under saddle on the lunge line don't really impress me - if he does that when I'm on him I can correct it. Lunging and bucking seem to be harder to correct, and I'd rather him equate work with no bucks . But that's just my personal philosophy, and a lot of people don't agree with me.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          For years I had worked with someone who believed in quashing any bucking or leaping on the longe, for good reason, to prevent injury.

                          But I also worked with someone who actually taught his horses to buck properly. He wanted horses to be playful, but he didn't allow them to 'torque around', spin or do anything that could harm their legs. They were taught to go out on a large circle and do a 'nice buck' as much as they liked - with their necks straight on their body,, on a large circle, and he seemed to be very successful at doing that with zero injuries - his horses seemed very happy in their work and stayed sound a very long time. I seriously doubt there are too many other people that could do that, but he did it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I guess I look at lunging as a warm-up, stretching, building muscle & mental tool.

                            Think about human athletes, they never go from the bed to the basketball court, the football field, the road on the marathon, or whatever... they have to stretch, they have to warm up, they have to build muscle, stamina, concentrate & learn mentally... these ideas & beliefs are the things we use lunging our horses for before riding.

                            We believe to prevent unnecessary injuries and events... the lunging tool is very valuable.

                            Horses by nature are somewhat lazy... now take that to being allowed to only live in small areas... where do they get any muscle or mental stimulation from?

                            Very few people own horse swimming pools, or all of the perfect conditions mentioned for exercising a horse, so to achieve the best one can, we believe lunging properly can be a great benefit.

                            Just my opinion for what it's worth.

                            Cindy
                            Watching Hawk Arabians
                            Home of ZEGAS
                            *Ganges x Zabrynka
                            http://www.watchinghawkarabians.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I am a huge believe in the benefits of proper lunge work... but...

                              I would never ever ever lunge for an hour. WAYYY too much.

                              "Proper" lunge work, in my mind, means you're trying to achieve a goal.

                              For a very young horse who is just being introduced to the concept, I think 10-15 minutes is enough.

                              For young horses who are in work, and are developing strength... I think 20-30 minutes is plenty.

                              For an older horse who has an amateur rider, or just needs some loosening up, I think 10-15 if good for most.

                              For a fresh horse who just needs to get some excess energy out before riding..., it depends on how fresh he is, how old he is, and how good his rider is. But again, I think by the time you hit 30-40 minutes on the lunge, you should be DONE. I don't think that's an appropriate warm-up pre-ride.

                              For a truly advanced horse, who is being lunged to develop a skill, or collection, its just like anything else... you wouldn't drill the passage for 10 minutes straight on his back... don't do it on the lunge. But, for an upper level horse, doing "basic" 20 meter circles in trot and canter is actually easier on their joints, because they are carrying themselves in better balance.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                somewhere in the back of my sleepy mind I recall a max time frame of 20 minutes, that's what I use as gauge... One our spinning on my heels... i'd be barfing!

                                A few minutes each side no side reins at a walk, then sidereins and work, each side.

                                but I really only used it when I had a rocket launcher to ride...kept my space exploration to a minimum

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  "That Depends":
                                  -purpose of the longe work
                                  -age and condition of the horse
                                  -footing
                                  -size of circle
                                  -proportion of time in each gait
                                  and probably most importantly:
                                  -SKILL OF THE LONGEUER

                                  Poorly done longeing by an inexperienced or uneducated person can ruin a horse in many ways.
                                  Properly done, with a skilled handler, can safely be done up to an hour at trot without unduly stressing the conditioned horse.

                                  How many people have actually had lessons from a knowledgeable trainer on this skill? The attitude seems to be that it only takes a few minutes to learn and people were not interested in attending a "work in hand/longeing" clinic we attempted to organize. Most classical school spend some months teaching longeing skills. Over here, very few horse owners know how to maintain a bend, create collection and balance, change a lead, change direction without stopping, etc,etc, on the longe.
                                  "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by CatOnLap View Post
                                    "That Depends":
                                    -purpose of the longe work
                                    -age and condition of the horse
                                    -footing
                                    -size of circle
                                    -proportion of time in each gait
                                    and probably most importantly:
                                    -SKILL OF THE LONGEUER

                                    Poorly done longeing by an inexperienced or uneducated person can ruin a horse in many ways.
                                    Properly done, with a skilled handler, can safely be done up to an hour at trot without unduly stressing the conditioned horse.

                                    How many people have actually had lessons from a knowledgeable trainer on this skill? The attitude seems to be that it only takes a few minutes to learn and people were not interested in attending a "work in hand/longeing" clinic we attempted to organize. Most classical school spend some months teaching longeing skills. Over here, very few horse owners know how to maintain a bend, create collection and balance, change a lead, change direction without stopping, etc,etc, on the longe.
                                    I agree... it is an art, not to be taken lightly... I failed to mention that and agree completely. Thank you for adding that. I have seen more people use it incorrectly than I have seen it done right.

                                    Thanks,
                                    Cindy
                                    Watching Hawk Arabians
                                    Home of ZEGAS
                                    *Ganges x Zabrynka
                                    http://www.watchinghawkarabians.com

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by LoveMyArabians View Post
                                      I agree... it is an art, not to be taken lightly... I failed to mention that and agree completely. Thank you for adding that. I have seen more people use it incorrectly than I have seen it done right.

                                      Thanks,
                                      Cindy

                                      Totally agree... longing... or I guess long lining? I think in the more formal world there is a difference, I tend to use the two interchanagable becuase I refuse to run my horse in a 20 ft circle for any length of time.

                                      I was taught by my trainer is a skill a horse handler learns and trains a horse for.... its an activity that helps develop their minds and bodies... but it isn't standing. I get as much of a work out as my horse... we use the whole arena... spiral in, spiral out, lenghts of the arena and especially extentions collections and transitions. If I could capture the work my hores could do on a line with my hands and seat I would be thrilled.

                                      All those things sprialing length and shortness, develop their back their abs their inner but muscles which are crucial for being able to shift that weight to the haunches and balencing their necks and their top line out. But like i said... I use a whole ring not just 20 feet. and i'm NO expert =)

                                      everything in moderation is a good rule of thumb.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Definately the skill of the longeur is important. I was a working student for a GP rider some 20+ years ago... She taught me twice a week how to longe the horses in training before we got on for close to a year...invaluable...

                                        I also longed for vaulting, in training and competition.... Try and keep a horse on a perfect 20 M circle with a vaulter doing a handstand... And oh yes by the way, they like the horse collected for the Kur (freestyle) and want lift for the 2nd half of the compulsories, so the horse and you need perfect communication...and all while people are walking down the bleachers, the tablecloth on the judges stand is blowing, and the speaker next to your 20 M circle is crackling with the music....and don't forget...pivot on your inner heel so as not to move while longeing!!! The horse takes one small step in or out and the kid is off the horse and out of the ribbons...Definately an art form!!

                                        I will longe or LL horses through ground poles, cavaletti, trot extensions down the long side (I have to run with them for this exercise)
                                        for upper L horses, I do piaffe or passage, lateral work in long lines..all really good exercises...

                                        Normal longeing done before work with sidereins, single lunge line and whip (I use the telescoping one), saddle bridle, 4 boots, with or without L. cavasson in good footing is 20 mins max.... that would be very fresh youngster....possibly at a new place... I do not let them cavort around...if they try (and they will) I begin to teach them to listen to me over all the external stimuli...as if they are on the path to becoming a vaulting horse...even if they are not.....I want their inner ear, and to be able to go a bit forward, come a bit back, stay straight on the circle, begin to bend, be able to reduce and enlarge the circle a bit...I do ask them to walk a couple of circles when we start..no just trotting or cantering off...

                                        Jeff Moore does wonderful seminars for vaulting horses on just these things!! I highly recommend them to anyone wanting to learn to lunge well.
                                        Riding is not a gentle hobby to be picked up and laid down. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.

                                        Comment

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