Lunging before riding the green dressage horse?

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by WildLittleWren, Dec 6, 2017 at 6:14 AM.

  1. CJ

    CJ Senior Member

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    I Dont think theres any harm in a couple minutes lunging or in a round pen before getting on. In fact I like and prefer to do it to see what their mental and physical readiness is. From the ground an off step may be obvious lunging that wasnt yet while just being handled. Lunging/ rp lets the horse get some sass out if so inclined, before they are mounted and asked/ expected to 'straighten up & fly right'. I once put a Stoic school horse out in a round pen just to stretch, since Id never seen him out between lessons... He looked at me like "What? really?" when I unclipped the lead, and proceeded to Lose his Flipping Mind, bucking and running like a 3 yr old instead of a teenager. A passerby actually mistook him for a greenbroke trainee and not "old FC Gray".
    Numerous times Ive spotted a slight misstep lunging that curtailed or canceled plans to ride.
    Raps would do the 1st-2nd-3rd gear warmup on a lunge, and sometimes light the afterburner for a few laps, or til I told/ cued him to knock that off. Thats preferable in a pen or on a line vs that excess energy under saddle.
    BO has a horse that does not lunge, is clueless what shes being asked to do out on a line, and it always feels like a leap of faith to get on her cold without lunging a lil first.
     
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  2. palogal

    palogal Senior Member

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    I like to lunge my youngsters when it's cold, to give them a chance to warm up a bit before I hop on. I don't always, if time constraints are a concern. In fair weather, I generally do not unless they're looking wild eyed and I want to get their attention for a few minutes before I get on.
     
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  3. PyroTekNik333

    PyroTekNik333 Senior Member

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    Just my 2cents but I wouldn't lunge a broke horse for the purpose of warming up.
    It's going to be harder for the horse on the lunge than nice big circles under saddle.

    If I have one that likes to blow I walk them out and recheck my girth and then away we go.

    Ground work with a teaching purpose in mind is a whole different ball game imo
     
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  4. GotaDunQH

    GotaDunQH Senior Member

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    I longe for 10 minutes because I don't ride everyday and my horses don't get turned out everyday...they are at a show barn with limited turnout. I see no harm in it and it hasn't hurt my horses any, so what's the big deal if people want to.
     
  5. StraightandTrue

    StraightandTrue Senior Member

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    I'm quite surprised there aren't more advocates for lunging. I love lunging! Not to tire the horse out as some people do - although having said that, if the horse takes off bucking then you bet I'm going to make sure they get that out of their system before I put my foot in the stirrup. Some of my worst falls could've been avoided if I'd just lunged the horse first. Not to mention warming up before strenuous exercise reduces the risk of injury. You can make it fun as well by throwing some cavaletti poles or small cross rails in the mix to encourage your horse to pick up it's feet, lift over it's back, and drive from behind.

    I find lunging helpful for:
    • Getting the blood pumping so the muscles are oxygenated prior to strenuous work;
    • Checking for lameness or irregularities in the horse's movement;
    • Checking the horse's mindset to see if they're tense or relaxed; and
    • Allowing the horse to stretch and loosen up without the weight of a rider.
    If you hop on YouTube there are some great videos on lunging for the dressage horse by Art2Ride (or Arttoride). I would be more inclined to use a chambon instead of side reins, as a chambon will promote stretching downward and forward, whereas with side reins they can end up curling their neck instead of stretching. There's nothing wrong with side reins though, as long as the horse doesn't curl. With either piece of equipment, I would lunge them without it first to make sure they aren't going to do anything silly.

    I'm also a huge fan of long lining (using two lines instead of one). You have a lot more control over the horse's body position with the two lines, and you can communicate better using the bit instead of a halter. It takes a lot of practice to get the hang of it, but it's a great tool for mouthing and developing confidence in the bridle.

    Best of luck!
     
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  6. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    I don't recommend that dressage riders use anything from ArttoRide's videos. I feel his training is incorrect.
     
  7. WildLittleWren

    WildLittleWren Full Member

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    Thank you everyone for your advice. Since my riding time is limited and with everyone's advice I am just going to skip lunging as I always do a decent warm up under saddle as well
     
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  8. tlkidding

    tlkidding Senior Member

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    Lunging is a good skill for both you and the horse to have - and you can advance it to working on long lines and schooling movements if desired.

    So my questions for you would be - age of this horse, how long under saddle, and how good is she at regular lunging? Also, how much turnout, how active of a horse, what are your goals when you ride? All of those answers would determine how much I'd be inclined to lunge a horse green to dressage.

    I make sure I walk at least 10 minutes before we start any trotting - this loosens up the joints as well as warms up the muscles. If/when I lunge, watching a horse walk around me for 10 minutes is mind numbing, so I don't tend to lunge before I ride. Plus, under saddle I can use the 10-15 minutes to go through every bit of lateral work and check suppleness before we move on, so it's not all just aimless wandering.
     
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  9. StraightandTrue

    StraightandTrue Senior Member

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    And I feel his training is more in line with what we should be seeing in dressage - soft, relaxed horses who are happy to stretch into a contact and lift over their backs instead of going around tense and hollow. The OP can make up their own mind, I only mentioned ArttoRide because he talks extensively about lunging (which is what this post is about).
     
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  10. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Sorry, I disagree. I would say the stretching is incorrect for dressage and the horses are not accepting the bit or taking a dressage-appropriate contact. I disagree also with his longeing technique. Sorry. I do not see any lifting backs or any correct stretching. He has been extensively discussed online, read what more experienced people have to say about it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017 at 3:43 PM

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