Time, or the lack thereof, is often the number one thing that keeps riders from training their own horses. And while time is an essential part of the puzzle in order to develop and grow your horse successfully, often we overestimate how much of it we actually need.
In fact, one of the reasons riders often don’t have enough time to work with their horse has more to do with a lack of planning and less about a lack of time.
So, if you are currently in a season of your life where time seems to always be against you and your horse working together… I have a solution. Firstly, plan your sessions (more on that just now). And then begin looking for more ‘quality’ and fewer quantity ways to train.
Lunging is the perfect solution for riders who want to use the little time they have available to continue working with their horse.
Why Is Lunging Perfect?
When you lunge your horse correctly, everything improves. I realise that is a pretty big statement. And I also stand by it. However, the key word in that sentence is ‘correctly’. To be clear, I am not speaking about running your horse in endless circles for 20 minutes. That is not lunging.
Correct lunging allows you to engage with your horse in a meaningful way. It is also quick and easy to get going with when time is short.
With very little ‘specialized’ equipment needed, it is also a cost-effective addition to your skill set as a rider and trainer. And remember, if you are working with your horse, you are a trainer.
Within 5 minutes you can be in a lunging space and working your horse; lunging is that simple.
Short, Quality Work Sessions
Lunging is also a perfect choice for those days when time is short due to how much can be achieved in a relatively short space of time. When we ride, there is a considerable amount of time needed to firstly prepare both your horse and yourself. From there, there is often a longer warming-up period and a cooling-off period. And then there is the ‘work’ itself in between.
When lunging, you can begin ‘working’ while warming up. This can be as simple as refining your aids and your horse’s responsiveness.
Then, because you can clearly see and gain feedback on what is happening with your horse, you can move forward more quickly with different concepts and training. For example, you will be able to actually see the half-halt at play in your horse’s movements. And by knowing that it is effective, you can ask more questions immediately.
Removes Any Rider Issues
One of the reasons lunging is so effective in a much shorter period of time is due to the rider not being ‘on board’. As riders, we really can underestimate how much influence we have over our horses when in the saddle. And how negative a lot of this influence can be!
When you give your horse the space to figure things out himself, while still using your aids to communicate and guide, it makes sense that you’ll both progress quicker.
From riders hunkering down into the half halt and causing hollowness instead of lightness. To riders tipping or tilting to one side or another causing balance issues. And, of course, the often ‘wonky’ coordination that riders often experience with their aids.
Lunging gives you the space to really become clear on your aids, and your horse the space to understand those aids and respond without hindrance.
Train Your Horse 20 Minutes or Less
Finally, the original reason I suggested lunging; it is a fantastic tool when time is short. Whether you do ‘5 a side’ or ‘7 a side’, you can really focus on what you want to achieve and make it happen.
The key to successfully using lunging in your training program is to actually plan what you want the outcome of each session to be.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can work on when lunging your horse. Responsiveness, forwardness, transitions, half halt, lightness, pole work, rhythm, suppleness, collection, straightness, self-carriage, contact, etc., etc.
What is there going on in your riding or training that needs more clarity or more development? That can more than likely be worked on while lunging. By creating a set intention for each session, you can continue to train your horse – even when time is short!
If you would like to find out more about getting started on lunging, you can download a free training HERE
- FREE TRAINING:- 3 Days to Successfully Getting Started on the Lunge
- 4 Essentials for Getting Started with Lunging for Riding
- Handling Your Lunge Line to Avoid Tangles and Enhance Contact
- 4 Things You’re Doing Wrong when Lunging
- Improving Your Riding Coordination and Aids While Lunging