If you have spent time around horses and stables you will be familiar with the practice of lunging. Lunging is a technique that involves the horse being lead around in circles on an extended lead rope. It is primarily done for training and exercise purposes but there are many more benefits of it that riders may not realize
Lunging should be part of every riders training regime. Here are some of the main benefits of lunging:
Lunging is an excellent training tool and it can be used for young and old horses alike. There are many benefits of lunging training depending on what shape your horse is in. Here are some of the reasons why I like to use lunging as a training exercise.
- Develop an understanding of voice commands
- Work through bad habits such as rearing or bucking
- Introduce obstacles and ground items similar to a show ring
- Helps to develop fitness and stamina
- Excellent training tool if recovering from injury.
2. Get the freshness out
Some horses can be nightmare to ride if they are a couple days fresh. Even with a good warm up they are strong and unpredictable which makes it very hard to do anything with them and also increases the risk of a fall. You can take the edge off this freshness by lunging the horse.
However if lunging a fresh horse it should be done so in a controlled manner as to avoid injury and ensure that the horse does not get overtired. When lunging the horse should move in controlled manner and not be running off the lunging line and misbehaving, e.g bucking, jumping.
Lunging your horse is a chance to develop your relationship with your horse without being in the saddle. Lunging allows the horse to hear your voice while also reading your body language.
The horse and rider relationship is important to nurture and has to be maintained at all times. This is especially true if you and the horse are still getting to know one another. Lunging helps both of you to build up the confidence before getting into the saddle.
4. Different Perspective
Lunging a horse also allows you to see the movement of your horse from a different perspective. When sitting in the saddle it can be hard to see the gait and movement patterns clearly. By lunging a horse you may be able to more easily spot an injury or an issue with their gait.
Adding variety to a horses routine is great for their mental health. If you ride your horse in the same way every time there is a good chance that the horse will get bored. Horses are extremely emotional animals and repetitive exercise can result in bad behavior.
Lunging is a great way to vary your workout with you horse and is a good alternative if you do not feel like riding.