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Lunging Etiquette?

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  • Lunging Etiquette?

    So with all of the frigid temps on the East Coast lately, I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been confined to the indoor for the past month or so. The horses have also seen their share of "cabin fever" with all the snow/ice in the past few weeks. As such, an above average number of riders seem to be lunging their horses pre-ride. Normally this isn't a problem, as there aren't a ton of people who find it necessary, or they use one of the several outdoor rings at the facility, but as we are all using the indoor these days (about 25 boarders), it's becoming an issue.

    A lot of this has to do with the size of our indoor- it's quite small, though well laid out, and the footing is good. Lunging a horse takes up about 1/3 of the ring, though. This week, on 2 occasions, I hopped on only to be followed in the ring by a kid that needed to lunge. One of these kids insisted upon lunging her incredibly out of control mare for 30 minutes or so. It cut my ride and the rides of 2 other boarders pretty significantly, not to mention the antics of said mare were quite interesting. It was quite disruptive, to say the least.

    I understand the need to lunge a horse before riding, especially the ones that need a lunge during other times of the year. I'm very lucky to have a horse that doesn't need it, ever, but I definitely feel for those that do. My question is, does your facility have rules regarding lunging etiquette? As in, how long/when/where/etc. one is permitted to lunge a horse?
    Here today, gone tomorrow...

  • #2
    No rules BUT... If i have to lunge inside i ask whoever is in the ring if thats going to bother their horses and if there are others in there i try to keep it quick. the way i see it is 1 person lunging can ruin a lot of peoples rides and i dont like it if others do it to me. Basically we all just try to be courteous of each other and wait to slip in between groups if its going to cause a problem.
    scr.ew them hunters



    • #3
      The only written rule we have is no lunging while someone is jumping. I know this might seem self evident to most people, but.......Also no lunging from 3:30-5:30 when all the after school lessons happen.
      Otherwise it is pretty much an un written rule to always ask if their is a mounted rider in the ring. I don't think very many people lunge for more than 10-15 minutes here though, so if I know someone is going to lunge first I might tack a bit slower.
      And I do find that most people in our barn are fairly considerate and ask "do you mind if I lunge" prior to starting, or even as they leave the cross ties
      "Half the failures in life result from pulling in one's horse when it is leaping."



      • #4
        I am one of those people who usually needs to lunge before I ride in the cold weather. Our only rule is lunge outside unless its completely messy/rainy/ or if someone is hogging all the round pens (it has happened in the past).

        I plan my day around lunging my horse. So if we have a 9am Saturday lesson, I'm at the barn at 8 am tacked and ready to go by 8:30 I'm lunging when most people are just arriving at the barn, and by 9am I am on and ready to ride. If I'm late, I suffer and I just ride through all my horses shenanigans with which is very interesting no-stirrup month.
        If only horses would use their athletic powers for good instead of evil. ~ MHM


        • #5
          We do.

          Only one horse can be lounged at a time if anyone is riding. Two horses can be lounged at a time if there are no riders.

          Anyone lounging has to leave enough room for two horses to pass, side-by-side, on the rail outside of the circle.

          If a horse is bonkers, its common courtesy for the riders to stay at the other end of the ring until the horse is back under control.


          • #6
            dont lunge if there are people already in the ring

            in other words it can be dangerous to have horse on a lunge and horse with a rider
            our rules are

            if someone lunging in the school you wait till they have finished
            if one is riding in the school then no one is allowed to lunge there horses
            either free lunge or lunge or long rein


            • #7
              We didn't have rules, and I couldn't lunge in the arena (too small with an obsitcle/trail course) but there was a round pen IN the indoor. I tried to ride during off hours and the barn was usually empty, but if I was riding with someone else there I would always let them know I was going to lunge and if that would be ok with their horse. I would try to do this ASAP (in the barn if possible, as I came into the arena if not). If they said "ok" I would wait for a little break in their ride (aka a walk rest) and do it then. I would also keep it as short as possible and do just enough to get the crazies out. A busy arena is not the time to have a full training session/exercise on the lunge line. Most of the riders were fairly curious with letting you know, some were not, but oh well.

              As I said, we didn't have rules, but if I were to create some they would be:
              1) No lunging when 3 or more people are riding
              2) Notify, and get permission from all riders prior to lunging
              3) Limit lunging to 8 minutes or less when riders are in the arena
              4) Keep horses under control at all times
              5) Lunge at one end of the arena (not in the middle)
              Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


              • Original Poster

                I guess it's not *necessarily* a behavioral issue. I find that most of the time, it's simply an inconvenience. I don't want to be limited to using 2/3 of the ring when someone doesn't want to ride out the energy. A lot of what I'm seeing is uneducated lunging by teenaged kids for the purpose of getting the bucks out (in my opinion, one shouldn't put tightly adjusted side reins on a horse that's kicking the walls based on the fact that it hasn't been out for 4 days). As far as I'm concerned, that's not my problem, and it shouldn't hinder my ability to exercise my horse over fences or otherwise.

                I suppose I'm asking for a tactical way to approach the situation. With the out of control mare, it got to the point where several riders were waiting, dismounted, to lead their horses out of the ring, and the kid just didn't stop to let anyone leave. I spoke up and asked her to stop in order to let everyone out. She did, but I'm not sure she would have if I hadn't said anything. It's not really my place to post rules, though I wouldn't be entirely opposed to explaining basic etiquette rules to the kids in order to make this winter more enjoyable. I've been riding at the facility with the same trainer for about 8 years, and most of the kids look up to me, so I know they'd listen. I just don't want to come off like a huge witch, which tends to happen when I'm aggravated by a complete lack of competence.
                Here today, gone tomorrow...


                • #9
                  I just had a lunging incident yesterday that had me wondering about barn etiquitte and respect myself.

                  Where I live there are ZERO H/J barns. I found a barn to ride at where there are plenty of fat horses that need exercise for me to ride, the downside of that is that I am the only person who consistently rides there. In the winter, once it starts snowing, the horses do not get turnout but for 15-20 minutes a day in the indoor ring while their stall is getting cleaned.

                  Usually, no one is there when I ride. Very few people actually ride at this barn, so I very rarely share the small indoor with anyone. I've visually measured the indoor and it's about 60x90. Big enough to have two to three horses being ridden at the same time (if we are all trotting, cantering, etc.) but not big enough to do anything else.

                  Two of the teenage girls were out yesterday to ride. I know for a fact the one girl hasn't been out to ride in at least two months, and the other one comes out maybe once a week or every two weeks. Both of these girls ride western pleasure/all around, one shows on the pinto circuit, one doesn't show. It was in the low 20's yesterday, and I was maybe ten minutes from being done when they both came in to ride. Fine, whatever, no biggie. I was trotting around and then went to pick up the canter, both of their horses jumped straight up in the air and bucked. The girls decided it was probably a good idea to get off and lunge....I asked them to please wait and give me another five minutes to finish up my ride and they could have the arena to themselves. They both said ok, one left the ring, and the other stayed in the ring to stand and wait. I was at the other end of the ring when I heard a loud crash and heard hoofbeats from behind me--the girl who was in the ring still had apparently been tying up her reins without having her lunge line attached yet when her mare kicked her and bolted. So now, I'm stuck on horseback in the ring with a mare running around like mad. Luckily, I wasn't on the barely broke three year old that I ride two days a week, and the mare I was on stood like a champ. This is the third time I have witnessed this particular mare bolt away from the kid and get loose.

                  Where I come from, most places either have a designated lunging area (round pen, small indoor ring, etc.) or they only allow lunging in the arena if no one else is riding. The girls didn't bother to ask if I minded if they lunged in the ring, and I know that had I not asked them to wait they would have just barged in. The ring is not safe enough to lunge two horses at the same time (which they did), and it's DEFINITELY not big enough to lunge two while someone is riding.

                  Once the horse was caught, I left the ring and the girls proceeded to lunge the crap out of their horses.....and the kicker? They came out, threw blankets on their WET HORSES and left.

                  This is not the first time there has been an incident like this while I've been riding. I've had several people just walk in and start lunging without asking me, one guy (whose horse has no manners and walks all over him) comes in the ring and will let his horse roll when people are riding, and has done so several times after being asked not to.

                  I was so peeved when I left the barn I didn't know what to do. The barn owners are in their early 70's and know what is going on but refuse to establish rules or have any sort of monitoring....they apparently used to run at tight ship but have gotten very uninvolved in the last few years. Usually they just laugh things off when they happen like this. No one takes safety seriously around here, and I keep fearing I'm going to be the one who gets hurt, even though I'm the one who takes necessary precautions (I'm the only person at the barn who wears a helmet at all times while riding.) I've made the executive decision to either ask people to not come in the ring at all when I ride, and I'll just leave if they refuse to do so. I don't know what else to do as this is literally one of three places in town with an indoor and is the best of the bunch....


                  Phew I feel better now.


                  • #10
                    Unfortunately where I ride there aren't any rules regarding lunging, other than that you cannot lunge while there is a lesson going on.

                    It really irks me when someone comes in during the middle of my ride and starts lunging their horse without asking my input first!!

                    It really does ruin my ride, especially if I have a time constraint.
                    a horseless canuck...


                    • #11
                      Ask me what I think and I'll say it is up to the person using the ring in a different way then everybody else...that would be lunging when everybody else is riding...to accomodate the others by waiting until they are done. That can flip when one wants to ride and 3 are lunging, then the rider can wait.

                      It is not that big a deal to just wait until there is a break or until another is done. This assumes BO or Manager is willing to put a reasonable time limit on the lunging. Anybody riding can walk on one end or just stand and chat (if it's not too cold) for 15 minutes. Those lunging need to watch the clock and show some consideration for taking up more then their fair share of space.

                      There is absolutely no reason winter boogers cannot be lunged out in 15 minutes. There are quite a few very good reasons some may want to do this before riding. But things can be worked out.

                      A little guidence from the BM and a smidge of consideration between riders solves this. If it is not happening try mentioning it to the BM first.

                      Have to say that the best and easiest way is to avoid peak hours. if you cannot do that, do NOT suffer in silence-nicely say "Sue, I really need to school the long sides here...will you need much more time to lunge?" Or 'I am almost done here. Would you mind waiting 10 minutes so I can finish? Then you can have the whole ring".

                      You don't get anywhere? Then talk to the BO/BM.

                      Far as written rules about lunging? Most places do not but there is an unspoken rule a single person cannot tie up the ring for an unreasonable amount of time.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                      • #12
                        I've been on both sides of this argument. While asking if you can lunge is a very polite way of dealing with your barnmates, I don't see a need for other rules to be established at the barn I'm at. In other words, if I'm the rider and and an obnoxious horse is kicking it up on the line, I use it as an opportunity to work on getting my horse to tune into me. If I'm the lunger (with the obnoxious horse) I use it as an opportunity to do my best to be in control of the situation, even if it means not actually letting the horse go out and just blow off the steam. I show, and most of the horses I ride are going to be shown, so they need to learn to deal with imperfect traffic, whether they are under saddle or on the line.

                        Funny story though - I was at a really big show riding a 4 year old. There had been a ton of rain so the arenas were being rotated. The huge warm-up arena we were in had a ton of horses - it was really tough to navigate, and several of them were on the lunge line. One young woman was on her cell as she lunged her horse. She wasn't paying attention, and I came around a corner and was stuck between two other horses and her horse cut around me. Luckily I saw it coming and ducked, or I would have been high-lined at a canter!


                        • #13
                          The rule at our barn is that you must ask each person riding indoors if it is OK with them to lunge your horse. If you get a negative answer you cannot lunge then. If there are more than 3 riders you are also not allowed to lunge indoors.


                          • #14
                            Nobody at my barn really lunges, I think I am the only one who ever has, but I am rarely out there with other people. I wouldn't even think of lunging when there are people in the ring. I normally don't lunge. But I would suggest speaking to your barn owners about the situation. Tell them the issues and suggest that maybe you could come up with a set of rules, with their approval before the rules are posted of course.


                            • #15
                              We don't really have set rules, but it really boils down to common sense. Other than the BO's assistant, I'm the only one who lunges horses at my barn. I always ask if it's OK when someone else is in there first, though. We have a pretty huge indoor, so even if someone wants to jump, there is plenty of room for them to do so unless they want to jump an entire course. Rarely do I get asked to move and I tell people when they come in to ride that if I'm in the way to let me know or I tell them how much longer I'll be so that they don't think I'm going to be lunging for the next 30 minutes or something crazy.

                              However, just last month, one of the show team instructors asked me if I wouldn't mind stopping my lunge session because one of the kids wanted to practice her course. My horse had just been bucking and acting like a fool so I asked if she could just let my horse go around a few more times to make sure we ended on a positive note. She said no problem, and it all worked out fine. The kid did her course, I hopped on my horse to ride, and all was good in our corner of the world.
                              "I was not expecting the park rangers to lead the resistance, none of the dystopian novels I read prepared me for this but cool."


                              • #16
                                If people are riding then only one person can lunge. Doesn't bother me any if somebody wants to lunge while I'm riding. Sure I may need to adjust my ride a little bit (for example, working on lengthenings and shortenings instead of serpentines) but I appreciate being able to lunge when I want to so I don't mind allowing others to lunge. Everyone is pretty easygoing about arena use so we don't have a lot of problems.
                                No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
                                For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
                                www.etsy.com/shop/joiedevivrecrafts Custom Wreaths and Other Decorations


                                • #17
                                  Our indoor is about 70x140 (not sure of actual demensions, but its bigger than 60x120) and we have stalls at one end. I teach the beginner lunge lessons once a week and it is SO hard being the person lunging with other things going on. What makes it worse is that I have a kid to take care of too. All of my lessons overlap with jumping lessons and we have quite a few boarders/leasers that come out to ride as well. I personally could not ride in our indoor when someone was lunging, I would be really nervous and then the horse would get nervous, and then there really just wouldnt be a point.

                                  Even though I have my lunge lessons in the ring (that they scheduled for me, so they are obviously ok with it) I have never seen someone lunge their horse before riding in our indoor. There really is just too much going on.
                                  I WAS a proud member of the *I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday* clique..but now I am 30!!!!!!!!!!!
                                  My new blog about my Finger Lakes Finest:
                                  She Ain't No Small Potato!


                                  • #18
                                    Horses are rarely longed in our ring during prime time. They all get turned out, or
                                    longed early in the morning. If it becomes a necessity, it has to be a mutual agreement between anyone else riding and the person wanting to longe. Usually a few minutes is all it takes to get the horse ready to ride.
                                    I've been in situations though like the ones mentioned by other posters.
                                    Its a bitch when trainers or barn owners don't take control. I'd say dangerous too.

                                    Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare


                                    • #19
                                      We have a smallish (maybe 60x160?? ring). Officially it's no more than two people riding if someone is lungeing, unofficially it's more like 1, depending on who is riding and who is lungeing.

                                      Then you have people who are just plain inconsiderate. I got to the barn a couple of weeks ago just as our one and only full fledged DQ was finishing up bodyclipping. Her mare, who is a pushy, grade A b*tch both to horses and humans, is always allowed to roll after clipping. No worries, I offered to wait. No, the DQ said to go ahead and lunge.

                                      Right as my youngster was having a fit, DQ flings open the door and wants to bring b*tchy mare in to roll. This horse habitually breaks away from her handler, plus goes after other horses under saddle, so there was no way, no how was I sharing the ring with a horse that had a 90% chance of getting loose and going after my horse. We were the ONLY ones in the ring at the time.

                                      I was mean. Right where I was lunging the DQ couldn't get past. I refused to move and said she'd have to wait 2 minutes.

                                      Anyone else in the barn would have chilled out and waited until I was done and not even thought of doing anything that stupid.
                                      "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."


                                      • #20
                                        I ran into this today, 'cept I was the lunger.

                                        I had planned to ride, but my half-chaps broke. Determined not to waste my (as of late) once-in-a-blue-moon time at the barn, I decided to lunge. There was a girl in there already riding. It's a huge ring, and my horse is a champion lunger. It's not so much of a "get the energy out" kind of lunge, but rather a "remind him he needs to listen to the directions of humans as a general rule" reminder.

                                        I asked the rider if she minded if I took one end of the ring to lunge. She was obviously hesitant, citing the greeness of her horse (who has been under saddle for a while, just without much professional training, I think). I told her I would just take one end, starting at a walk, and if her horse handled it okay we'd go from there. It was an excellent opportunity to desensitize him. It's a big boarding barn, with lessons, and it's unreasonable for anyone to expect they can ever have the (only and giant) ring to themselves, especially for the duration she wanted to at the time of day she wanted.

                                        I lunged for 10 minutes, and got out. Her horse was a champ, and stood and watched from the opposite end for a minute and then carried on with what appeared to be no fuss or muss about what my horse was doing at the other end.

                                        Obviously if there had been lots of people riding I wouldn't have been so pushy, but when you have a giant ring and you can easily physically work in 2/3rds of the ring.. share. If your horse mentally can't handle it... ride them more when someone is lunging. I also wouldn't have been so pushy if I knew my horse was a problem lunger.

                                        Even beyond lunging ettiquette, though, if you have people cranking side reins to lunge crazies, or having horses take off, those people need general lunging safety lessons... not just ettiquette.