How to Lunge
Lungeing can be tricky to do well but it certainly is an invaluable accomplishment with some very useful benefits. Lungeing forms a big part of a young horse’s education, learning to accept the tack and later on, the rider. It is also used to reinforce the comprehension of the voice commands and teach the horse the different words for each gait.
An experienced person can work a horse well on the lunge in a 20-minute session and that can be worth 40 minutes under saddle, ideal if you are short of time or daylight in the winter months. Lungeing is also oh so useful with an excitable or fresh horse; a few spins on the lunge before the rider hops on board can make all the difference. It can be a useful tool to school the horse without the rider, equally the horse can work over poles and small fences, ideal if you want to give your horse some variety but do not want to jump yourself.
Lunge lessons on an appropriate horse and with an experienced instructor are a great way to work on your position without having to think about controlling the horse as well. Most training centres have a couple of suitable, calm lunge horses with regular and level gaits which are comfortable for the rider.
Learning to handle lunge equipment competently can be very useful if a horse is difficult to load or difficult to lead in hand; the lunge line is longer than a lead rope which can be both safer and more effective for the handler. Lunge equipment
- Horses are usually lunged in either their bridle with the lunge line attached in one of several different ways or, in their bridle and a lunge cavesson. The Cavesson is a special piece of equipment which fits over the top of the bridle and in place of the horse’s usual noseband . The lunge cavesson has several rotating swivel rings on the nose which gives the handler different options for attachment. You can choose the central ring or a ring to the inner side of the horse’s head depending on how the cavesson fits on the horse.
- A horse can be lunged in either a saddle or a roller. It is usual to add other attachments to the tack such as side reins or schooling aids of which there are many, a Pessoa, Chambon or de Gogue to name a few. These are quite specialist devices and need to be handled with care by someone who is experienced not only in how to use them but in how to fit them.
- Because some horses can become quite exuberant on the lunge, it is usual to fit protective equipment such as brushing boots all round and overreach boots. It is sensible and advisable to wear a hat when you lunge and gloves are a must; the best gloves to wear are smooth leather so the lunge line can
- slide through your hand more easily, so not a riding glove which tends to have a textured surface to promote grip.