There are a few key pieces of horse lunging equipment that you’ll need to have before beginning a lunging session with your horse. As an absolute minimum, you need a lunge rein that’s fit for purpose and long enough to do the job properly. You will also need a lunging cavesson, roller and many people choose to have a lunging whip, which can be a useful aid that acts as an extension of their arm. When lunging a horse, Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Sarah Ridd likes to keep the equipment she uses really simple.
“All you need is a roller (or saddle), a lunge cavesson, your horse’s bridle and a set of side reins,” says Sarah. Of course you will also need a lunge rein (or lunge line) and you may choose to carry a lunging whip too. There are other training aids available, which some riders and trainers like to use. It’s not just about the horse either — wearing gloves, a riding hat and a good pair of riding (or yard) boots will keep you comfortable and safe when you’re lunging a horse.
Useful horse lunging equipment
It is useful to have the following pieces of kit to hand for lunging. You can read more about what each training aid is and how it works by clicking on its name:
- Bridle or cavesson
- Lunge rein Buy one here
- Roller (or saddle, but make sure the stirrups are removed or secured so that they don’t flap around as the horse moves)
- Lunging whip Buy one here
- For the rider: hat, gloves and boots
- Pessoa lunging system
- De Gogue
- Lungie Bungie
- Side reins
Using a lunging aid
I find the use of lunging aids is a big topic on the yard and the cause of great debate amongst horse owners. Personally I have found my horses lunge well in side reins, providing they are working forward into the contact. For one horse I lunged that The main question is, “should I use one or not?” Ultimately, a training aid that is fitted correctly, used well and for the right reasons, can be of great help when working a horse on the lunge. The problems start when it doesn’t fit properly and so the horse becomes uncomfortable and/or anxious or the person lunging a horse doesn’t really understand how to use the training aid properly.
Here are Your Horse’s golden rules to help you choose the right training aid:
- Before using any training aid, make sure your horse is physically able to do what’s being asked. Using any gadget when they have an underlying problem won’t help at all. This could be anything from level of fitness, age and training, through to physical pain in the horse’s mouth or body.
- Read the instructions before using a lungeing aid so that you understand how it works and how to fit it. If you’re unsure, ask for advice from a trainer or someone experienced and trustworthy first.
- Always start with the training aid on the loosest setting so your horse gets used to wearing it and is able to stretch and warm up properly first. Adjust it gradually.
- Don’t expect miracles. Any lunging aid will only work if your technique is up to scratch and it is never a quick fix. Keep your horse moving forwards on the lunge and work them evenly on both reins.
- Keep lunging sessions short to avoid injury and gradually increase the length of time you use the training aid. Make sure you loosen it up (or remove it) and allow the horse to cool down and stretch at the end of every session.
It’s also important that you wear the right kit. Make sure you wear a riding hat, a pair of gloves and comfortable footwear — lungeing a horse is a good workout for you, too!