Working your horse on the lunge is a great way to give him a good workout. Trainer Sarah Ridd helps you think about your position:
When you work your horse correctly on the lunge, it’s a great way to encourage him to use and develop all the right muscles that’ll improve his way of going when you ride him. Also, from your position on the ground you can watch how your horse moves and spot any irregularities in his muscle development. It gives you a benchmark for where your horse’s training is and highlights the areas that need working on, such as improving his suppleness and balance. From what you see when you lunge him will help you formulate a targeted training plan. Read on for my tips and advice to boost your technique, and help you recognise when your horse is working correctly.
For effective lungeing your position as the handler is really important. It can take a bit of practise to perfect it but if you follow my simple tips you’ll be lungeing like a pro in no time.
To give your horse clear aids and direct him, your horse, your lunge line and whip form a triangle. He’s the bottom of the triangle, you’re the top of it and your lunge line and whip form the sides
Move with your horse
I’m not one for standing in the same spot for lungeing, I like to walk with my horse so you’ll need to match his walk or trot steps to keep up with him
Up the energy
To encourage your horse to go forwards rotate your whip from his hock towards his elbow
Staying in his work space
Your horse mustn’t encroach on your space, if he does, point your whip towards his head to encourage him to stay out and away from you
High jinks on the lunge
If your horse has a moment and takes off on the lunge, don’t panic and immediately try and get him under control. If you get tense it’ll only activate his flight mechanism further. Instead, take a deep breath out, relax your shoulders and then quietly ask him to come back to walk.