Lunging can be described as a horse traveling on a circle around you. While performing this type of exercise, most horses will be attached to a lunge line. Some trainers may utilize side reins and other devices to encourage proper form. Many riders lunge their horse before a ride to burn off excess energy. Others use it to develop the horse’s body.
The Risks of Lunging
Much like any form of training and exercise, lunging can be bad for your horse when not done correctly. Small circles can be hard on your horse’s body, especially youngsters still developing. Horses that are unfit or suffer joint issues will also have trouble with the constant circling.
Most of the time lunging is a great form of exercise. It can strengthen your horse’s body and work on their stamina. The key is to do it in moderation! Sessions should be kept under 20 minutes, even shorter for young and weak horses. Avoid putting your horse into a fake frame with various training gadgets, instead let them develop naturally with hills and ground poles.
Always consult with your trainer before lunging your horse for the first time. They will show you how to properly attach the lunge line, where to stand, and what aids to use. It can even be helpful to watch them do it a few times first.
In addition to the physical stress, there’s also the risk of an accident. Your horse can get hung up in a low, droopy lunge line. Handlers can also get tied up in the rope, if they don’t hold it correctly. Make sure to wear gloves to avoid rope burn, and a helmet is also advisable!
Yes, the risks are there; however, if you learn how to correctly lunge your horse, then they’ll likely be just fine.