Lunging is the best method we have to watch the horse work a little at a distance. This is also where we have the best opportunity to work the horse at trot and gallop, as well as link verbal commands to these gaits.
In the past, I used the lunging a lot, but over the years I have changed both my way of lunging and my attitude to the lunging itself.
To me, it makes absolutely no sense for the horse to have to run around and around its owner, who is standing still in the middle. And the problem with that is that if the horse can not see the scam, then we risk having to drive on the horse indefinitely, or we will struggle with some horses looking out of the vault, hurry, bucks or something.
But having said that, it is still my belief that we can get something good out of lunging our horses. It just needs to be done differently than we are used to it. But let's look at it ..
Attaching the lunge line
Typically, I would rather lung the horse in a halter.
Previously, I would strain the lung through the inner bite, across the neck, and staple it to the outer bite. Or just in internal contribution, if it was horses I had worked a lot with and who listened to tiny little signals.
Capsun is also an option, but I prefer the halter.
And finally, in some cases, it is most optimal to work the horse in liberty.
Side Reins and chambon
I do not use any kind of auxiliary reins.
Earlier, when I was an Art2Ride trainer, we were advised to use loose restraints to teach the horse to seek contact on the bit. Likewise, the restraints were used to teach the horse to get up in a higher position. And even though I had never used auxiliary reins before, I listened to the recommendations and tried my hand at it.
On this page you will be able to see both videos and pictures of this. I never got to use it on other people's horses as I could not see the benefit of using it on my own horses.
On this page you can also find something about the old-fashioned chambon. This chambon puts pressure on the neck if the horse lifts its head high. The rest of the time it hangs completely loose. It's definitely one of the milder forms of auxiliary reins, but it does not help on the actual problem. Which no kind of auxiliary reins do.
Therefore, no auxiliary reins here.
I no longer use a whip when I lung. The whip easily becomes a sleeping pad, which makes us use it, instead of using our body language and voice to communicate with the horse.
A large part of the reason why the horse finds lunging boring is precisely the lack of communication.
Preparation for the lunging
If we do not use whips and auxiliary reins, then how do we get the horse to go forward and stretch?
Before the lunging itself is started, the horse must have learned to move forward when we move forward and in this connection it will have learned the command step.
The horse will also have learned that when we bring one hand and the felt / lung forward, it is a signal for the horse to move forward.
In this process, the horse is rewarded for having his attention directed towards us. Once the horse has its attention directed towards us, then it will begin to round its entire body.
This rounding through the body will cause the horse to begin to stretch.
The lunging itself
To begin with, you stay relatively close to the horse. When you send the horse out into the lungs via the above signals, it is with a focus on whether the horse retains its attention directed towards you. If the horse does that, you stop it and praise it before the horse has lost attention. This means that to begin with, you may only get the horse to walk a few steps.
There will be a lot of start and stop in the beginning. It is this process that makes the horse retain its attention directed towards us. And this is what makes the horse from the start of learning to walk around us with internal rounding. Slowly you will find that the horse can walk for longer and longer without losing focus and rounding.
This is where we will start to see the horse stretch. And to start with, you will then again stop and praise the horse until the horse understands that this is what we want. However, the reason why the horse starts to stretch is because it is relaxed and feels comfortable. Therefore, in many cases there will be no need to stop the horse and praise very many times. Here you will be able to praise the horse with its voice while it continues to move.
One should not see it as something negative that one has to start and stop. It is far more effective to get some short but good sequences, rather than 20 minutes of trotting, where the horse most of the time walks tense. In addition, you get to train a lot of transitions.
Posts on the page
There are quite a few posts on the page here, regarding lunging. And most of them describe the lunging as I traditionally did. Over time, however, as mentioned, I have changed my approach to lunging.
Previously, it was roughly the lung and the whip that got the horse into the desired shape. You could say that it was the horse's exterior that was worked on.
Today I work more with the horse's interior, communication and getting a good relationship with the horse.
The post "Proper biomechanics is not enough" explains a little more about this.
Enjoy the training.