Do you know that, contrary to popular belief, lunging is not ‘running in circles’? That, when done right, lunging is one of the most beneficial, easy to use, and low barrier to entry tools you can work with your horse to improve your riding.
True and good quality lunging improves both horse and rider; and can be used by all horses and riders, regardless of where they are in their riding journey.
Yes, it is that good… This is why I feel a little passionate when people confuse loose lunging for actual lunging! In fact, I don’t believe that loose lunging should even be called lunging. What it should e called depends on what you are using it for… But it is not lunging.
So, what is Lunging?
Lunging is when you use a combination of natural and artificial aids to ask questions of your horse. A lot of those questions are ones that you would use similar aids to ask when you are riding.
True lunging is when you ask your horse to do things using a combination of aids that would also work if you asked a similar question when in the saddle. Just now, you’re on the ground.
Just like you use your seat, your legs, your hands, the reins, your weight, your thoughts, your voice, groundpoles, the arena fence, and so many other natural and artificial aids when you ride, you do the same when you lunge. Your position, your body language, the lunge line, the lunge whip, the arena boundary, groundpoles, your voice, etc., etc.
And, what’s magic is that you and your horse get to experience all of this from a new and helpful perspective.
And what is Loose Lunging?
Loose lunging is when you take a lot of the artificial aids out of the equation. Notice I said a lot, not all. The boundary is still there (so the arena fence or rail). And also, many people use a rope or other similar piece of equipment to enhance their natural aids. A little like the lunge whip would do if lunging.
The key difference between lunging and loose lunging is the contact and connection.
True lunging, just like riding, encourages contact and connection between horse and rider. Loose lunging does not have that element because there’s no lunge line. And while you can ride without reins, the result is not the same as riding with them. The same with lunging…
Which is one of the big reasons I personally think loose lunging often quickly ends up being simply running in circles. Not always, and I want to stress this. But very often, the horse is simply running aimlessly around the rider in the center who has little to no influence over the situation as a whole.
It also very often has a lack of focus or intention for the interaction… So it doesn’t really move the conversation forward for horse or rider.
How Do I Start Lunging?
If you would like step-by-step instruction on getting started and then taking your lunging further, Lunging for Riding is ready and waiting for you to join HERE. In there you will get 4 weeks of lunging plans, audio training. All put together in an easy-to-follow program that will literally transform your lunging – and your riding.
Other Resources to Help You with This Topic:-
- Improving Your Riding Coordination & Aids While Lunging
- Lunging for Riding – 4-week step by step program to transform your lunging experience
- Online community for equestrians working on their mindset & fitness
- Online Community for equestrians focusing on re-schooling horses (and ex-racehorses)
- The Daily Strides Podcast on iTunes
- The Daily Strides Podcast on Stitcher Radio