Lunging Your Horse Before Riding

Updated on March 15, 2019
Ellison Hartley profile image

Ellison is a professional horse trainer and riding instructor. She runs a summer camp program and offers kids a safe introduction to horses.

Lunging is a skill that is worth learning how to do if you haven't learned yet!
Lunging is a skill that is worth learning how to do if you haven't learned yet! | Source

We Aren't the Only Ones Who Get Spring Fever!

With spring approaching, the weather in most areas is starting to improve. It is finally getting warmer and the sun is shining. I don't know about you, but I get "spring fever" and our horses do too. Some horses get it because they just are enjoying the warm weather or because they have had a lot of time off in the winter.

If you are apprehensive about riding, your horse will feel your nervous energy. You want to get your riding season started on the right foot, so getting your horse to focus on you and relax before you get on is a great idea!

We don't want to end up with any empty saddles this spring!
We don't want to end up with any empty saddles this spring! | Source

To Lunge or Not to Lunge?

If you and your horse are not experienced with lunging, there is a good chance it could negate your purpose of settling your horse down. A lot of horses being lunged just run like crazy and buck. I know that is sort of what you want them to do so they don't do it under saddle, but it can be counterproductive.

The Goal of Lunging Is Not Just to Tire Your Horse

When I lunge a horse, my goal is to get it to go on the ground just like it would if I was under saddle. I encourage the horse to keep the rhythm/speed I want and focus on me. If you are just holding onto the end of the lunge line while your horse puts on a rodeo, it is a good chance he may just get more wound up. We don't want to bring our horse's energy up, we want to settle it down. If your horse runs around you out of control on the lunge line, then you aren't doing anything but get your horse more wound up.

Some would say that at least by lunging, you are tiring the horses out. This will only be the case if you don't lunge regularly. If you start lunging your horse before each ride, he will just end up gaining fitness and you will just have to lunge longer to get the same effect. Obviously, this would also be counterproductive.

If you are not experienced at lunging, it is a skill that is definitely worth perfecting with the help of your trainer or instructor. If you have not learned how to lunge, I don't suggest trying to learn how on your horse that has "spring fever." (This is unlikely to help you accomplish your goal of settling your horse down.)

What to Do If You Don't Feel Comfortable Enough to Lunge

Safety first of course! If you don't have anyone experienced to help you with lunging, do some simple groundwork exercises to help get your horse focused on the ground before you get on.

Things like getting your horse to move his haunches away from you on the leadline is part of teaching a horse to lunge. Control the hind end (the motor), and you control the whole horse! This will help to get him to focus on you, which should, in turn, relax both of you.

Another exercise you can do to help get your horse's respect and focus is to move your horse back out of your space without moving towards him or her. Ask him to back up with a tug on the leadline while you keep your feet in one spot. You may need to push your horse or use the leadline or whip tapping his chest to help him get the idea. What you are trying to do is assert your personal space with your horse. Asking him to respect you enough to back away from you without you moving towards him is a good way to help with respect and focus.

What we are trying to avoid by lunging or doing ground work.
What we are trying to avoid by lunging or doing ground work. | Source

Consider the Experience Level of You and Your Horse, Then Decide!

Consider your level of experience and your horse's level of experience to decide which option is best and safest for you. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. I think your horse will get the "spring fever" out of his system soon and then both of you can enjoy the spring weather!

Do you know how to lunge your horse?

See results

Questions & Answers

    Comments

    Submit a Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)