How To Lunge Your Horse - ForTheHorse

How To Lunge Your Horse

In this training you'll discover how to lunge your horse, so you can have amazing, fun fulfilling rides.

The students we work with are looking to build a forever bond with their horse, they want to be safe and they want to do the right thing with their horse.

They don't want to make mistakes.

I'm going to give you first of all, the definition of what lunging is, and then I'll give you my definition of what lunging is.  I will also give you some of the core basics of lunging.

So generally, if you're new to horse lunging, it is where you have your horse on a line circling you.

Here's my definition; it has the complete consideration of the rider and the horse...

Lunging is where the horse is at the end of a line of some sort. The line can be invisible, and it's attached to the horse in some way (again it can be an invisible attachment), and you're making all kinds of figures depending on the level of education of the rider and the horse.  This improves our connection with each other, and it leads to riding and more advanced work with your horse.

Lungeing is one of the key components of our online rider program, both on line and at liberty!  We provide you with ongoing full support to get these basics mastered and then transfer them to the saddle. Discover more about our Program HERE.

Core basics of lunging:  #1. Liberty

I love liberty work. It's when you don't have a physical line attached. That is the invisible line that's attached.

The riders love it and horses love it too...if it's done well.

You can reach extremely high levels of Liberty work that translate into your writing, you're in handwork everything you do with your horse.

For example, I was asked to do an audition. It was for an outdoor play that happens every summer.

I got a phone call and the woman said to me,  "We need a horse for our next summer play. It needs to be a white horse. It needs to be a horse who can do all kinds of different things and be very impressive. And we heard that you have that."

I had two horses that could fit that description! One was an Andalusian gelding and the other one was a Morgan/Arab mare.

So, she said your audition is on this day, bring your horse and show us what you can do.

I chose Gem, the mare, and went to the audition.

Everything we did was at liberty.  The audition location was not in a fenced area. It was completely open. It was on their farm.  They had the bleachers set up, it was behind the bleachers, but it was completely open to the entire 80-acre farm.

My horse could have gone anywhere.

This is what I did with Gem: the rear, circling at Liberty, all three gaits, sideways, come to us, lay down...that's an example of how you can get very advanced with your horse.

I have to say that we were accepted for the play. It was called the "Blue Horse" and Gem was the star in the play. She was painted all in blue with kids’ tempera paint before each show. It was a show that ran for 30 days, 30 nights, sometimes two shows a day.

And she performed amazingly well.

I trained the actor who was the lead actor in the play, how to work with Gem so that all our training that we had put into Gem translated directly to another person.

It was just an amazing, amazing experience.

So, this is where Liberty can take you to extremely high heights as it did with my horse Gem.

She was performing in mulitple shows for an extended period of time.

That's when it shows if your work with your horse is good.

The other aspect of that though is that we continually trained her body to move effectively so she wouldn't get degraded physically, which is very important.

Core basics of lungeing  #2.  Online

Probably, every horse person has done lunging online. It has so many different purposes and I've already mentioned some when I talked about Liberty.

This is basic education for starting young horses.

For more advanced horses, you can use it for balance, rhythm coordination, improving the gaits, working on transitions, you can use it for communication, using voice commands, perhaps body language,  and of course, energy.

Online lunging helps them to calm a horse down and to settle down. It's a place where you can check how your horse is moving, you can check how your horse is feeling, you can check how you are feeling...there are so many benefits to lunging.

In my program, this is how we use Lunging --> we use lunging to reinforce our Place of Power. As riders, as an athlete riding on our horses or using in handwork we need to have our Place of Power in our bodies.

And that is always not clear to riders. Sometimes riders think they think they know what it is, but they're not absolutely crystal clear.

And this is what we do in my program. We help you to find out exactly crystal clear what is it that you need to do to find your Power Position? 

What do you need to release? What do you need to coordinate, then we use lunging, to talk to our horses to have a conversation? So, this is what I like to think about it.

It is the place to start the conversation with your horse.

Just like movement and just like riding, it's the place to start. So, unless we have attended to listen to our horse speaking to our horse, actually giving back to our horse once we've listened then lunging is going to turn into something boring, because horses are intelligent.

And when they know they're being listened to, then they start to engage and cooperate and have a conversation back with you. And that's where it gets interesting for horses. That's where lunging is not at all boring. I mean, you can make lunging extremely boring for horses and shut them off.

And it's our enemy to have horses that are bored. 

We're not just telling the horse commands; we're not just blurting out things for the horse to do and expecting immediate obedience.

The next thing that we do in our program and how we use lunging is feel.

Core basics of lungeing #3.  Feel

Riding is all about movement and movement is all about feel ... sitting in the saddle is all about feel, contact with the reins is all about feel

So, this is the place that we first introduced how to feel your horse on the end of the line, which then translates and how to feel your horse while you're riding.  

For example, Deb who's in our program, she experienced the first one or two weeks in our program, she then got on and rode her horse. And she later sent me a video on one of our group calls. And she was speechless. She couldn't believe how she was then able to feel from just doing our exercises that we do with the Ride the Rebound™ portion of our program... her horse was able to feel it so clearly.

She was able to just do what we teach. And the horse responded instantly. No make involved.  

This is also where we teach about riders’ emotions, subconscious blocks that are holding them back, and when you're on the lunge line, you can focus more on these things.

"What is coming to me?"  "My horse is being confusing?" I" don't understand?" So then I maybe say to myself, "I can't do this. I'm no good."  "Why am I doing this?" These are all subconscious blocks that we help riders with.  

So, rather riders will be saying, "I am good enough. And I can help my horse through this. I just need to find the right way."

This is what we work on all these voices that come into us when we're working our horse, which holds us back... it stops us from knowing what to do. It stops us from being there, and being in an evaluative and observing mind so that we can figure it out.

Core basics of lungeing #4.  Least amount of intervention as possible

We use the least amount of intervention as possible and this relates back to the feel as well.

When you are lungeing next, ask yourself this question...

Is there any leaning happening, either from you or from your horse? 

Evaluate what is happening and from there make your choices.

Core basics of lungeing #5.  This is a partnership and a union in harmony

Our horses are not becoming robots. This is a partnership and a union in harmony is not about one part of the partnership being a robot. It's about us both coming together, dancing together, understanding each other, having a communication, having a talk with each other fun, exhilaration, results, comfort, ease, and flow. (Also, online can be a segue to trailer loading).

Because the better you have your online the better than you can handle your horse in a more challenging situation, like trailer loading. I've given you so many purposes, so many benefits. I've given you examples and showing you how lunging with Liberty online can help in so many different ways.

Now, you need to answer this question:  what is it that I'm trying to accomplish with my horse?

...and give yourself and your horse, the expansiveness that you need to do a good job with your horse.  If you want to expand your process with your horse and expand your possibilities around Liberty, around lunging, around mindset, around going to the highest levels of lateral movements, then that's what we do in my program.

And if you are here, CLICK HERE to schedule a call with us.

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 help you re-ignite your ultimate confidence and self-belief so that your horse willingly partners with you, in lightness, and then helps you establish a step by step plan and strategy to support your growth together. This will leave you feeling confident, capable and available to step into your genius as a rider to serve your horse.

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