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To Lunge Or Not To Lunge

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  • #41
    Originally posted by M. O'Connor View Post
    It depends entirely on what you mean by "longeing" (however you spell it), the horse, and what you hope to achieve by longeing.

    I was one of the competition stewards at WEG in KY who had supervisory duties over the schooling areas, including the longeing area. It was a real lesson in longeing techniques, with variations practiced according to personal preference, discipline, and country.

    The chief jumping steward, Karen Golding, had me post video clips to my Facebook page, and here on COTH to illustrate what we judged to be some of the best techniques, as practiced by members of the Dutch driving team.

    At its best, longeing focuses the attention of the horse on the handler and the level of communication with between the two is quite high--they are partners in the movements being practiced toward a purpose, rather than adversaries as you see most often in the H/J longeing areas at horse shows, where often you will see horses galloping about in halters twisting into their eyeballs, with their necks sideways and their back ends falling outward. To complete the picture, their handler leans back against the centrifugal force being generated, all the while frantically snapping a whip (sometimes with a plastic bag attached).

    Compare the example above with the image of the feather-light responsiveness of an attentive, well trained horse in the hands of an experienced and knowledgeable handler, and it's no wonder that some who have never been exposed to the latter would question the value of longeing altogether.
    Absolutely!! So can we see some of this video??
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    • #42
      Well this took some digging...

      http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/i...57/2010%20WEG/
      Inner Bay Equestrian
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      • #43
        I'm not sure those were the exact ones I posted previously, but they convey the idea...worth noting that these particular horses 'trot for a living' at the highest levels of their discipline, and display an extraordinary degree of impulsion.

        What you can't tell from these short clips is that they changed direction and speeds often; many were also ridden at times (and stuck out like sore thumbs when mixed in the mounted schooling areas amongst eventers/jumpers and dressage horses ) in addition to being worked as teams in harness.

        What you can tell is that there is more to longeing than most in the H/J world are customarily exposed to, unless a trainer has thoroughly integrated longing in a thoughtful and constructive manner into his or her program, as opposed to just sending every horse out to the longe area with a random groom for X amount of time every show day.
        Inner Bay Equestrian
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        • #44
          I'm jealous. He had an ultimate jockey surcingle!

          I've always loved this video

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MIkANZyQVE&sns=em
          www.destinationconsensusequus.com
          chaque pas est fait ensemble

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          • #45
            Mmm, lunging has a time and a place. I'm actually not a fan of using gadgets on the lunge. Too many horses start to develop bad habits, like leaning on the bridle, popping their shoulder out, etc. Either ride the horse or don't. Neck stretchers, the Pessoa system, and side reins aren't going to ride the horse for you. Rope and leather straps on the horse while it goes around in a circle is not training (at least, not to me).

            To me, long lining (many people call this ground driving as well) or even doing what was posted in those videos, which was lunging with two long reins (sortof a variation of long lining) is entirely different. The handler has direct contact with the bit and is using aids that are basically what he/she would use while riding/driving a horse.

            I use lunging to get the sillies out of my mare. She cannot be turned out (let's not get started on that one, it's another story for another day), she knows voice commands perfectly and if she is really paying attention I can control her with my breathing/body language. I set myself a timer and go no more than 5 min a side (so a total of 10 min on the lunge). If she wants to play, she does her big, slow, happy bucks (different from panicked, rapid bucks) and struts and does her "sassy mare" trot. If she doesn't need it, she goes around quietly at the jog and lope. If she starts to wind herself up, I ask her to spiral in and out and trot until she comes back down from the clouds, which usually happens quickly.
            We only need to do this when she gets extended amounts of time off, which is rare.

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            • #46
              Originally posted by bluebuckets View Post
              Mmm, lunging has a time and a place. I'm actually not a fan of using gadgets on the lunge. Too many horses start to develop bad habits, like leaning on the bridle, popping their shoulder out, etc. Either ride the horse or don't. Neck stretchers, the Pessoa system, and side reins aren't going to ride the horse for you. Rope and leather straps on the horse while it goes around in a circle is not training (at least, not to me).

              To me, long lining (many people call this ground driving as well) or even doing what was posted in those videos, which was lunging with two long reins (sortof a variation of long lining) is entirely different. The handler has direct contact with the bit and is using aids that are basically what he/she would use while riding/driving a horse.

              I use lunging to get the sillies out of my mare. She cannot be turned out (let's not get started on that one, it's another story for another day), she knows voice commands perfectly and if she is really paying attention I can control her with my breathing/body language. I set myself a timer and go no more than 5 min a side (so a total of 10 min on the lunge). If she wants to play, she does her big, slow, happy bucks (different from panicked, rapid bucks) and struts and does her "sassy mare" trot. If she doesn't need it, she goes around quietly at the jog and lope. If she starts to wind herself up, I ask her to spiral in and out and trot until she comes back down from the clouds, which usually happens quickly.
              We only need to do this when she gets extended amounts of time off, which is rare.
              There are some very highly ranked riders who don't turn their horses out, at all, ever. Extremes in management styles, and everything in between, can be supported, depending on how you go about it.

              The main point is that longeing (like many other things in life) should never be approached casually, but should always involve thought, skill, and good judgement.
              Inner Bay Equestrian
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              • #47
                I do lunge my horse, once a week. It's a break for her from riding, and it allows me to see her go from the ground. She doesn't run around like she's bat sh!t crazy, but once in a while she will have some silly bucks here and there.

                I feel like a lot of the respect she gives me while handling her whether it be grooming, tacking, bathing etc stems from doing productive lunging, and groundwork.

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