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What are your thoughts when it comes to free lunging?

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  • What are your thoughts when it comes to free lunging?

    What are your thoughts as it comes to free lunging your horse? What do you think about it? Why is it used? should anyone do this with their horse? etc.

  • #2
    Barn rat for life


    • #3
      I like free lunging. But only on certain terms. If "free lunging" is chasing a horse while he gallops wildly about, doing sliding stops into fences and looking like he is about to have a heart attack...then no, not good (and yes I've seen this "type" of free lunging).

      If by free lunging you mean using your body language to get a horse to w/t/c around you in a calm manner then it holds a lot of value. By trying this your are learning to read how your horse reacts. For some horses, the difference of a few feet between you and the horse is the difference between a horse calmly cantering with an ear flicked towards you, and a horse galloping around like a nut. You get to watch how your horse responds to where you are in relation to them. You get to figure out how to turn your horse around by using only your body. You get to understand the push and pull of really communicating with a horse. How one step really does matter. I use it a lot with new horses. It helps me figure out what type of horse I'm trying to work with. For example, a lazy QH tends to be a lot less response, lets you get more in his space, without overreacting. A sensitive TB will react immediately when you ask for a change in direction, gait change, etc. It sounds simple, but IMO when you're working with a new horse, it really helps get a feel of how they will react u/s. I find that horse can have 2 very different personalities on the ground and u/s, but working with a horse free lunging, whatever personality they tend to have u/s shines through.
      Sorry if this doesn't make much sense, it's the kind of thing that is easy to see when you're actually doing it, hard if you're trying to explain it. My goal when free lunging is to never have a horse get out of control, anxious, or to stop paying attention to me.
      come what may

      Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


      • #4
        I do it with my horse and he seems to enjoy it. I was pleased that he is generally obedient to voice commands off the longe. It's just one more fun thing to do to break up the daily routine.


        • #5
          Free lunging is the only way to actually see a horse "in liberty" to assess the horse's innate athletic ability.

          It is done regularly in certain breeds and there are liberty classes in shows where the criteria is to judge the horse's natural movement.

          Do you have a problem with it?
          Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
          Alfred A. Montapert


          • #6
            For some horses I like free lunging because they can use the entire arena to get their kicks out before I get on. I don't want them bucking or acting up on the lunge line.

            For other horses the lunge line is a place to run mindlessly in circles so I free lunge because they have to pay attention to my body signals. I can move them further out or closer to me and turn them around without a line attached to them. It helps them to calm down and focus on me and accept me as a herd leader that can drive them around.


            • #7
              I have two geldings -- I can free lunge one and it works well. He stays calm, pays attention to me, and its a good way of giving him a light workout on days I don't ride. My other guy turns into a nut case and careens around and won't listen to me unless and until I stand in front of him with arms outstretched yelling "whoa!". So needless to say I don't free lunge him.


              • #8
                Originally posted by schneidepc View Post
                I have two geldings -- I can free lunge one and it works well. He stays calm, pays attention to me, and its a good way of giving him a light workout on days I don't ride. My other guy turns into a nut case and careens around and won't listen to me unless and until I stand in front of him with arms outstretched yelling "whoa!". So needless to say I don't free lunge him.
                Actually, he will stop....just give him time to process what's happenning. He might be expressing joy.....at being in liberty and allowed freedom.

                It is much harder to run around than to walk or stop and look around. If you give the horse a chance, he will stop, look at you and wonder "what's up?"....that is the place to start the conversations.

                I have done this with stallions. No problem. Now the owners are usually a whole 'nother case.
                Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
                Alfred A. Montapert


                • #9
                  I don't like too much of any kind of lunging, too hard on the horse's legs to go motoring around in small spaces for too long.

                  As with any we do, a bit done right can go a long way.

                  Depends on what you are wanting to accomplish, of course any longing, free or not, can be useful.

                  It is always good to review what we do and why.


                  • #10
                    In an enclosed space, with a horse who pays attention and "gets it", I love free lunging. I lunge my gelding once a week and ride the other 4 days we work together. The lunge session follows his 2 days off. Most of the time, I lunge him in a bridle/lunge line setup. However, there are cases when free lunging works better for him. Case in point. Last Friday, we were having moderately high winds and the wind was banging the doors on the arena. Himself was feeling rather full of it and spooky. On a lunge line, he would have run into the end several times. Free lunging, if he had a big spook/buck, he did his thing, then calmed back down and went back on the circle. After a few minutes of spooks, he settled, felt secure, and we did lots of transitions. I believe that feeling like he had an out if he needed it allowed him to calm himself.

                    Other times, I'm lunging him over caveletti and I don't want him to have an out - I want to place him where I want him, so tack is helpful.
                    Last edited by snbess; Feb. 24, 2013, 02:51 PM. Reason: spelling


                    • #11
                      When my mare was stalled much more than she is now, I very much liked free lunging. It worked well to get excess energy out, but my mare, at least, was good about staying in a trot or canter and listening to commands, with maybe a few bucks thrown in here or there.

                      Now that she has lots of turnout, I don't have much need for any kind of lunging.
                      *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*


                      • #12
                        it's a bit more play time than on the lunge line.

                        It should not be running the horse off his legs, obviously....nothing good but a vet bill can come from that...

                        But it's less 'work' than on the lunge line...


                        • #13
                          Back in the day when I worked as a groom at a top jumper barn, we used to do what we called " loose exercising". We would use two people with lunge whips in an empty indoor (or jumps clumped in the middle) and work the horse at trot and canter both directions. We would work some in the gouge with a surcingle. The would work only a short time (10-20min max) and get a good workout. We would mainly do it in the winter when it could be too cold to ride. The horses picked up pretty quick what we wanted and knew the cues to change direction and stuff. It was usually pretty controlled.