Many riders choose to lunge their horse as a form of exercise and training. When done correctly, the benefits of lunging are numerous! You can expect better flexibility, balance, and fitness. Follow these step-by-step directions to lunge like a pro!
- Lunge line (25 to 35 feet long)
- Lunge whip
1. Get your horse fitted with a secure cavesson. This is the best option for those lunging their horse for the first time. Stand in the center of the circle and gather your lunge line in folds. It should not drag or have loops in which your hand could get hung up in.
2. Decide on your direction. Stand at your horse’s wither. When going to the left, place the lunge line in your left hand and whip in the right. Lift your left hand to the left to encourage movement in that direction. Use the whip at the hindquarters to further drive your horse forward. Use verbal commands or clucking sounds to indicate you want your horse to walk forward.
3. Slowly release the lunge line and encourage forward movement until your horse is on a good sized circle. Use a smaller circle until you have control over your horse. A 20 meter circle is ideal.
4. You can ask for a trot or canter with verbal cues and the whip as reinforcement. The whip should be held high by your horse’s hip. When requesting a downward transition, drop the tip of your whip to the ground and apply gentle pressure on the lunge line while using your voice.
5. To change directions, ask your horse to halt. Step backwards to encourage your horse to look at you. Next, switch the whip and lunge line to the opposite hands and point in the direction you want them to go in.
- Walking in a small circle in the center can encourage them to go forward. Make sure you don’t get in front of their shoulder though.
- Faster speeds require a larger circle
- Lunging is intense work, so slowly build up your horse’s fitness for it
For visual learners, check out this video tutorial: