How to lunge a horse and stay balanced on the circle – ForTheHorse

How to lunge a horse and stay balanced on the circle

Have you ever wondered why your horse comes in on the circle? So much so that you might feel a little claustrophobic, but you don't really pay attention to that feeling that you're feeling because so much else is happening?

I'm going to show you what you can do about that, how you can help that situation on the circle, on the lunge.


This is ZJ behind me here, she is an Oldenburg mare, and she'll be my helper here.

(I'm assuming here that you know how to lunge, that you're comfortable with your tools, with your whip, with your halter, with whatever you use.)

Let's begin...

There are basically three parts of the horse that we want to think about and look at on the circle. There's the neck and the head, there's the front end and there's the hind end.

Send your horse out on the circle...

So I'm sending ZJ out on the circle. She's not too lazy, she's not rushing. She is a tiny bit distracted but doing pretty good.

Keep your feet still in the middle of the circle.

Observe these parts of her body and how they are moving around the circle...

1) Head and neck first.

2) Look at the shoulders.

3) Look at her hind end.

When she goes to look out the door, I might use my left hand and tip her nose into the inside.

Find out what side is your horse's dominant side...

ZJ's dominant side is to the left, she likes to go left more than right.

Which means, right now (circling to the left), she always wants to make the circle bigger.

Change direction and notice the less dominant side...

This is her less dominant side. So as I look at this, she is constantly bringing the right shoulder in and this is where you can see the slack in the line, can you see that?  She puts a lot of slack of the line here, here's lots, here's lots.

She's moving on to the right shoulder. I'm keeping my feet still so she's doing that ... making that shape of circle.

To make the correction for this make sure the head is towards the inside of the circle, but also send the shoulder away.

To send the shoulder away, point to her shoulder and she will keep more distance.

So if you notice ethat you have thatclaustrophobic feeling...and are asking yourself, "why is there so much slack in the line? ", then...

#1.  Make sure your check that you're not moving your feet.

 #2.  Send your horse around in the circle, observing the head and neck, checking the shoulders and checking the hind end. 

#3.  On the side that your horse comes in on the circle, tip the nose towards you and send the shoulder away by pointing at the shoulder with your stick.

You could see, I hope clearly here, that she readily goes onto her right shoulder.

So a circle to the right she is making smaller all the time and that's when you need to send the shoulder out by pointing to her shoulder with the stick.

This is just one technique that you can use to help your horse on  the circle and improve your ability to recognize and evaluate how your horse is moving...

MORE RESOURCES TO HELP YOU BUILD YOUR DREAM HORSE

* Why we miss our horses

* The wonders of spine lengthening

About the Author Chris Adderson

Chris Adderson teaches riders and horses how to move with ease and grace to create astounding results and lifelong relationships of their dreams. She teaches valuable skills and educational strategies to get more results, quicker and faster.

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