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Longeing - a useful tool?

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  • Longeing - a useful tool?

    Do you think Longeing is a useful tool? How often would you longe? What kinds of 'apparatus' does your horse wear while longeing?
    Mine usually wear a bridle, a roller, a longeing cavesson, longeing lead, longeing whip (to flick at him when he gets lazy!) and loose side reins to stop him mucking around! But occasionally I use the 'pessoa' system, which I find useful also.

  • #2
    I think I can count on one hand the number of times I've lunged any of my horses. I've never had any that really needed it, and no one ever really taught me how to do it properly, so I'd just rather hop on and ride through whatever needs to be fixed.
    My CANTER cutie Chip and IHSA shows!


    • #3
      I find it extremely useful these days. I have a rather weak back and when I don't want to overtax it, I lunge. I also use lunging to see what a horse is doing; I usually work alone and I think its important to be able to watch them move. I get a lot of OTTBs too and I think it helps build up their right side, which is usually less developed.

      Equipment: I keep it simple and just lunge in their normal tack with fairly loose side reins. I've never tried the Pessoa system; do you think it helps?


      • #4
        May I insert a question into your thread? I have the book Common Sense Dressage by Sally O'Connor. There are photos of horses being lunged in a lunging cavesson with overchecks. It seems that very few lunging cavessons sold these days include the rings for the overchecks, and I've never seen anything marketed as "overchecks" in a tack catalog. In addition to answering the OP's questions, can someone shed some light on the use of overchecks while lunging?
        TheCatFarm Handmade cat toys.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by caryledee View Post
          I find it extremely useful these days. I have a rather weak back and when I don't want to overtax it, I lunge. I also use lunging to see what a horse is doing; I usually work alone and I think its important to be able to watch them move. I get a lot of OTTBs too and I think it helps build up their right side, which is usually less developed.

          Equipment: I keep it simple and just lunge in their normal tack with fairly loose side reins. I've never tried the Pessoa system; do you think it helps?

          I think it does. For me, it takes a while to get the actual thing on because i find it's a bit fiddley. It's got adjustable pulley things so you can adjust the head position to where you need it e.g. low for a greenie, or high for a more experienced horse etc...


          • #6
            I was taught how to lunge/longe properly (though not how to spell it!! ) and I used to do it consistently as a warmup or on days when I couldn't ride due to some injury (to me, not the horse) or something. I was, at the time, with trainers who were big fans of extensive longeing with cavesson, surcingle, side reins, etc.

            Lately I've been at a more western oriented barn, and there isn't such a strong belief that longeing is vital as a daily exercise, so I've happily dumped it. I occasionally do 10 minutes longeing as a warmup, but mostly I just warmup while riding, and on occasional days I am not up to riding I sometimes ground drive or do work in hand instead. I don't roundpen, either, by the way, which some people use as a sort of western-style substitute for longeing.

            So having done it and not done it, I'm not sure it's quite the be-all end-all some people think, but it certainly is useful occasionally, particularly in developing green horses to help them find their balance and develop a bit before a rider sits on them.


            • #7
              Originally posted by cocopuff View Post
              May I insert a question into your thread? I have the book Common Sense Dressage by Sally O'Connor. There are photos of horses being lunged in a lunging cavesson with overchecks. It seems that very few lunging cavessons sold these days include the rings for the overchecks, and I've never seen anything marketed as "overchecks" in a tack catalog. In addition to answering the OP's questions, can someone shed some light on the use of overchecks while lunging?
              I've never seen a dressage horse longed in an overcheck, but the saddleseat trainer at our barn uses them all the time. Maybe a dressage trainer can elaborate on why one would use an overcheck- both of my horses need stretching out help, not head up help!

              To buy an overcheck, check a gaited/saddleseat catalog!

              To answer the OP, longing is a regular part of training for both of my horses. I longe them in a saddle (or surcingle, if I'm sure I won't be riding after), bridle, and side reins or vienna reins.


              • #8
                I lunge maybe once or twice a month as a rule. With side-reins, work on transitions, etc. Usually lunging is for me a day when I don't have time/don't feel well enough/etc to ride. My girl knows there is no bucking or messing around when she's saddles on the lunge, but occasionally for fun I lunge 'nakey' and she really lets loose. She's pretty funny with it, never pulls or runs like a crazy horse, but REALLY bucks. The CMT thinks she's self adjusting.
                Don't toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!


                • #9
                  We use long lines, instead of the single line method of lunge/lounging.

                  We use no extra gimmicks, just a bridle, surcingle, long lashed whip.

                  We find the horse to learn faster, respond much better, going in the long lines. Lunging teaches a lot of bad body position, and does not allow control of the whole horse body that long lining does. Horse actually has to unlearn a lot, if they have been lunging on a line, before he will go correctly in the long lines.

                  We find a horse will lean or hang on the sidereins, where they don't on the long lines. They "zone out" just going around, no reward or release of pressure. Usually hanging on the line so body is leaning the wrong way all the time. We can do instant correction, releases, with the lines to reward the animal as he does it correctly. He learns self-carriage, because it is the most comfortable postition to travel in, develops the muscles needed for it. They experiment with head up, head down, snaking his neck during travel, but finally get it right as they learn. He not held up artificially with sidereins, checkrein or sidecheck, using body held incorrectly, learning in false body frame. All the good work of long lines, easily transfers to work in saddle or our CDE Driving needs.

                  If horse won't go the way you want without the various "attachments" then they are not TRAINING him. Attachements or gimmicks, are just forcing horse to go the way you want, he has not learned.

                  So long lines are the tool of choice here, and ours never get lunged/lounged anymore. We do have a round pen, gets used now and again for a session in starting a horse.. We find it to be a step in training, not the end-all for fixing things. Too much use is not helpful in teaching. Again, long lines are much more adaptable in developing a horse's knowledge, advancing his skills without a fight, teaching him to work with his handler.


                  • #10
                    I think it is useful. I lunge or free lunge in a round pen on a semi-regular basis. Nothing too strenuous, I try to keep the circle as large as possible. I use it to teach and reinforce voice commands and work on transitions. As far as equipment, it really depends on the day and the purpose. If it is just to get a few bucks out after a week of rain, then nothing but a halter and lungeline, maybe a studchain. If I am lunging before I ride, then saddle and bridle, with reins acting as side reins. If I am only lunging as the day's training, then a bridle, surcingle and side reins.


                    • #11
                      Lungeing is very useful.

                      However I'm continually surprised how many people I run into who think it's merely making the horse run in a circle until it's worn out enough to get on and ride. And/or (since they often go hand in hand ) don't understand 'how' to lunge a horse, because they've never been taught.

                      For me, I was taught to lunge a horse while as a working student in Europe, under some fairly well known trainers. It's an art, and has so many possibilities.

                      I don't lunge everyday, but I do use it as what it's meant to be for, a schooling tool. Rather then as a 'wear' em out before I get on' thing that so many seem prone to. That's not what it's for.
                      Originally posted by ExJumper
                      Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.


                      • #12
                        Lunge, free lunge and long lines. Every moment on the lines is considered work time in my book and they are to act as though they are being ridden- no yahooing around. Never more than 20 mintues though.


                        • #13
                          At my barn we rarely longe... and even then the horses are "roped" using a rope like you would use for roping cows, only softer than anything you usually find for sale. It's set up kind of like a war bridle. It gives amazing control and makes it very easy to change direction. All the horses learn to jump on the rope before they are even ridden the first time. The result is a horse that is really easy to start over fences once you get on... in fact they jump as a reward, since the flat work is more mentally taxing for them. Horses that are broke only get roped a few times a year in the winter. The are not allowed to buck and run like fools. They have to learn to control their emotions when they are working. They can buck in turn out.


                          • #14
                            I'm working with a 13 YO TB who was ridden infrequently for several years and is quite green. I find longeing to be a useful activity for us. I use it to work on his balance and rhythm, as well as to teach him verbal commands and work on easy transitions. I also like to know that he's capable of the basics of longeing- you never know when it will come in handy (like if a vet needs to check for soundness or if you want a lesson on a longe line).

                            I do not longe him before every ride. Sometimes I longe him a little bit after the ride and sometimes not at all. I do not longe him for more than 10-15 minutes including walk work. He normally wears a saddle and bridle or a surcingle and bridle/cavesson.

                            On days that we do not longe, we do clicker training, free longeing, or in-hand work before our rides. I find that we can have longer sessions of work if the entire session is not spent under saddle. Plus, the variety is good for him and he is improving with all of the handling.

                            Cherry Hill's longeing book is a good read if you're interested in expanding the scope of your longeing/long lining training.
                            Sarah K. Andrew | Twitter | Instagram | Flickr | Calendar


                            • #15
                              I find longeing to be a useful tool, when done right, for conditioning/ exercise on days I don't have time to ride, and for training. Generally I will simply longe with halter and longe line and whip, I don't own a longeing cavesson. I'll also sometimes use a surcingle and side reins for certain things.

                              I think it's a waste of time if the intent is to simply wear the horse down/ take the 'edge' off. I figured out in the 60s when showing western pleasure horses, that all that does for you is create a fitter horse that takes longer to 'work down.'

                              And when done wrong- well, lots of circles in general are not good for horses' joints, and someone standing still and having a horse twirling 'round creates even more stress on the joints without accomplishing anything good.


                              • #16
                                I've never been a huge fan of the lunge line but a trainer recently recommended to me to try the lunge line and side reins to get my young horse a little rounder in the neck. After the first try, then getting on, she was a little straighter and more forward than normal. NICE! She's normally quite lazy.


                                • #17
                                  I don't lunge my horses........... I can't find much purpose for it. I don't even know if three of my horses know how to lunge. My 4 year old gelding does know because the trainer I sent him to taught him too. I like to ride my horses instead and I can jump on any of mine without lunging them even the youngster.

                                  I see alot of horse people who seem to become dependant on lunging and they seem to lunge more than they ride. But whatever floats your boat I guess
                                  RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
                                  May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
                                  RIP San Lena Peppy
                                  May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010


                                  • #18
                                    Oh, I am a HUGE convert - thanks to a wonderful trainer. I am learning in hand work, long lining, free lunging. It is simply amazing what you can do for your horse in even 10 or 15 minutes, if you know what to do and how to do it (which I am learning....but we are getting there!). It is fabulous - especially now, when they have to walk so carefully outside because of the frozen ground, even if it is cold I can free lunge for 15 minutes and help my horse activate his hind end and stretch his back and get it swinging. It helps too, if I lack time, or if he is coming back from an issue, if I want to work on something specifically before I get in the saddle. The only times I don't do it is (1) at a clinic or show, obviously (2) if we're hacking (3) if I want to focus on something specific under saddle, and especially if weather (too hot, too cold) conditions mean you have to make a choice.

                                    And there is a huge plus for you as well - you not only improve your eye (I used to have to look at his back, then his legs, then his neck, now I can use what Sally Swift calls the "soft eye" and get the whole picture of how he is moving), but you realize how much the horse mimics you. My posture has improved greatly since I started this work, and everything translates to the saddle (and back).

                                    I count it an enormous blessing to have been introduced to this.
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                                    • #19
                                      I definitely think longeing has its place. Sometimes when I am asked to ride a horse, I will longe in the round pen for 5-10 minutes just to get a feel for the animal.

                                      I have used it in the past to take the edge off of my mare before getting on (chilly days where I am the only one at the barn). I don't let them buck and go crazy on the longe, just simple walk/trot/canter behave yourself type of thing.

                                      Sometimes if I have a horse who is weak on one side at the canter, I will longe. It helps him find his own balance before adding a rider.
                                      Originally posted by barka.lounger
                                      u get big old crop and bust that nags ass the next time it even slow down.

                                      we see u in gp ring in no time.


                                      • #20
                                        I use it when a horse is really fresh and when I first start them. It comes in handy when they like to play!
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