4 Lungeing aids to improve your horse's way of going

Often a hot topic amongst horse owners whether you use a lungeing aid is a personal choice. Whether you decide to use one or not, follow our five golden rules to make sure you choose the right one for your horse:

1.     Make sure your horse is physically able to do what’s being asked of him when you’re lungeing. Using any gadget when he has an underlying problem will only make it worse.

2.     Read the instructions before using the lungeing aid so you know how to fit it correctly and understand how it works. If you’re unsure, ask for advice from your trainer first.

3.     Always start with the aid on the loosest setting so your horse gets used to wearing it. Then adjust it gradually.

4.     Don’t expect miracles. Any lungeing aid will only work if your technique is up to scratch. It’s important to keep your horse moving forwards on the lunge and to work him evenly on both reins.

5.     Keep your lungeing sessions short to avoid the risk of injury and gradually increasing the length of time.

Here’s four lungeing aids, which are all designed to improve your horse’s fitness, suppleness and engagement. 

Classic Dressage lunge aid

CD-aid-web.jpg

An innovative lunge aid that encourages your horse to work over his back, stretching forwards and down naturally. The cotton rope lies over your horse’s back just behind his withers, passing between his front legs and attaching to the bit rings. It only applies pressure when your horse hollows. The pressure is released when he softens and goes correctly.

RRP: £45*

Equiami standard lungeing aid

Equiami-web.jpg

Correct use of the EquiAmi training aid encourages your horse to work in a soft, round outline. Its unique design places your horse inside a self-centring loop. The positioning of this loop encourages your horse to bring his hind legs underneath his body, to lower his head and shorten his frame. As your horse adopts a more rounded outline, he’s rewarded by the training aid becoming looser. There’s an instructional DVD included to help you get the most out of your EquiAmi.

RRP: £65*

To buy visit www.equiami.com

Pessoa training aid

Pessoa-web.jpg

Developed by showjumper Nelson Pessoa, the Pessoa Training Aid works with your horse helping him to find his optimum balance and rhythm.

The Pessoa creates a fluid contact by a series of ropes and pulleys that encourage your horse to take weight off his forehand, work through his back and bring his hindquarters underneath him. It has a range of settings you can use depending on your horse’s level of fitness and training.

RRP: £149*

To find your nearest stockist visit www.gfsriding.co.uk

Kincade Elastic Chambon Training Strap

Kincade-chambon-web.jpg

This simple elastic strap encourages your horse to lower his head and round his back, strengthening the muscles. It only comes into action if your horse raises his head above his withers. 

RRP: £10.99*

Available from all good tack shops

 

*prices correct at time of publishing

Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, filled with the latest news, inspirational riding and horse care features plus all the exciting horsey products that recently hit the shelves.

 

 

Training aids - the Pessoa

WHAT IS IT?

A system of ropes and pulleys that run along the sides of the horse, with an elastic tensioner positioned behind the quarters. The tensioner is attached to the top of lunging roller. Then two lines run from the tensioner, along either side of the horse, through rings on the roller positioned half way up the horse’s body. They then continue to clip on to the bit rings via a small pulley, before being run to one of several positions on the roller.

 A pessoa creates a connection between the hindquarters and the bit

A pessoa creates a connection between the hindquarters and the bit

WHEN SHOULD IT BE USED?

It’s designed to be used during lungeing only.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

In effect it creates a connection between the hindquarters and the bit. The tensioner and its supporting lines put gentle pressure on the quarters, encouraging the horse to step further under, and so stretch and lift the back muscles. At the same time the lines running through the bit discourage the horse from raising his head too far by exerting pressure on the mouth. As soon as the horse lowers his head the pressure is removed.

WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

  • Suppleness of the back via a rounder outline
  • Looser paces due to increased suppleness
  • Developing topline muscle
  • Improving the connection from hindquarters to bridle by forming the correct outline
  • Improving engagement of the hindquarters, so transferring weight onto the hindquarters and improving balance

“By creating greater engagement and connection, the Pessoa can help improve muscle development in weak or young horses,” says training expert Tara Osborn. “Those who are difficult to motivate or who find engagement of their quarters difficult will also benefit.” By improving the back muscles, it can also improve horses who are tense or hollow, encouraging relaxation and the lowering and stretching of neck and topline.

WHAT CAN GO WRONG?

Fitted too tightly, it will restrict the horse’s forward movement and bring his nose behind the vertical, putting him onto the forehand. The horse must be driven forward to achieve the correct frame. Too loose and the quarters won’t engage, so there’ll be no connection from the hindquarters to the bridle.

Training Aids - the De Gogue

By encouraging the neck to be lowered and the nose to be brought in, the back comes up and the quarters engage. “Like the chambon, the de Gogue is good for hollow horses,” says expert Tara Osborn, “but it has the benefit of being used for ridden work, too. Also, as the nose is encouraged to be brought in, it tends to develop a rounder way of going and improves the topline and muscling of the quarters.”

 

 A De Gogue acts upon the poll and the bit, putting pressure on the corners of the mouth when the horse raises his head higher than desired.

A De Gogue acts upon the poll and the bit, putting pressure on the corners of the mouth when the horse raises his head higher than desired.

What is it?

Similar in look to a chambon, the cords pass through the bit rings instead of clipping to them, and attach either to specially adapted reins or back onto the breast strap that passes between the horse’s forelegs to form a triangular shape.

 

When should it be used?

For in-hand work, loose schooling, lungeing or ridden work. For non-ridden training it’s used in the triangular shape and is under the direct control of the horse. For ridden work, the de Gogue can be brought into action by the special reins, but should be used alongside reins fitted directly to the bit.

How does it work?

It acts upon the poll and the bit, putting pressure on the corners of the mouth when the horse raises his head higher than desired. Downward pressure is placed on the poll and backwards pressure on the mouth, which releases when the horse brings his head down and nose in.

What is it good for?

  • Developing suppleness through the back
  • Encouraging a longer, lower frame while being ridden
  • Developing muscle across the back and loins - particularly those needed for show jumping
  • Strengthening the hindquarters
  • Develops looseness in the paces due to greater suppleness in the back

What can go wrong?

The effectiveness will be dramatically reduced if the de Gogue isn’t fitted correctly. “If it’s too tight, it will pull the horse’s neck down and back, making him overbent and unable to work up from the hindquarters into the bridle,” explains Tara. “Too loose and there will be little effect as the horse can maintain a head-up and nose-out way of going. It’s vital the horse is worked forward into the contact otherwise he’ll be put onto the forehand.”

Training Aids - the Chambon

 A chambon can be used for lungeing or loose schooling on the flat.

A chambon can be used for lungeing or loose schooling on the flat.

The chambon is used to encourage the horse to work in a longer, lower outline, using the muscles over the back, quarters and neck. It’s ideal for the early stages of a horse’s education or in retraining. “It’s effective for horses who go in a hollow outline, with their head up, back dropped and quarters trailing,” explains expert instructor and dressage trainer Tara Osborn. “By encouraging the longer, lower frame, the horse will learn to use his back muscles and engage his quarters. It must be introduced slowly and the horse must be encouraged forward into the contact to get the best results.”

 

What is it?

A cord clips to each bit ring and then passes upwards and through a loop on each side of a poll strap. From here, the cords drop downwards to attach to a single strap that passes between the horse’s forelegs and loops onto the girth or roller.

When should it be used?

For lungeing or loose schooling on the flat.

How does it work?

The chambon acts on the poll and, via the bit, on the corners of the mouth. When the horse raises his head higher than desired, the bit is raised in the mouth and poll pressure is applied. As soon as he lowers his head the pressure is removed. In effect, the horse works the chambon.

What is it good for

  • Developing suppleness of the back
  • Encouraging a longer, lower frame
  • Developing muscle over the back and loins - particularly good for strengthening those used for show jumping
  • Strengthening the hindquarters
  • Developing looseness in the paces through suppleness in the back
  • Developing topline muscle

What can go wrong?

If fitted too tightly, the horse will draw his neck back and become overbent. If the chambon is too loose, the horse will trail his quarters and little muscle development will be achieved. Finally, the horse shouldn’t be allowed to slop along so no connection to the contact is made. Any of these mistakes will lead to the horse working on his forehand.

The lungie bungie

 A lungie bungie provides an elastic contact on the bit.

A lungie bungie provides an elastic contact on the bit.

A lungie bungie is a short strap with a central fixed ring is clipped at either end to the bit rings. Then an elasticated bungie cord, which can be adjusted to different lengths, is run through the central ring and attaches at either end to the D-rings of the saddle or a roller.

WHEN SHOULD IT BE USED?
It can be used for lungeing or ridden work but not jumping.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
This provides an elastic contact on the bit, which is always kept even due to the bungie not being connected directly, but via the sliding ring. If the horse raises his head too far, pressure will be placed on the bit and thus the bars and corners of the mouth, until his head is lowered. However, due to the elastic and flexible nature of the bungie, the pressure is not a fixed pull, but is designed to ‘ask’ and encourage the horse to relax.

WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?
- Developing lightness of contact
- Developing an even contact
- Improving suppleness through the jaw and poll and, therefore, the back
- Increasing suppleness of the back through a rounder outline
- Improving paces through suppleness
- Developing topline muscle

The bungie places gentle pressure on the corners and bars of the mouth via the bit to encourage an elastic contact. This helps develop softness through the jaw and poll, which allows the horse to use his back muscles and engage his quarters correctly. “It can help horses who have an uneven contact and one-sidedness by encouraging an even connection,” explains expert Tara Osborn. “It will also help improve lightness of contact due to its elasticity, especially for horses who are a little tight in the jaw or fixed on the contact.”

WHAT CAN GO WRONG?
Fitting the bungie too tightly will cause the horse to draw his nose too far in. “A horse who is overbent and behind the vertical will be put onto his forehand, which in turn will create tension in the back and make him reluctant to go forward,” says Tara. “However, if the aid is too slack it will have no effect and the horse will be long and above the bit, lacking connection and therefore unable to develop muscle.”