Lunging to improve weight carrying ability

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by mooselady, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. mooselady

    mooselady Senior Member

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    I read this today and went o_Oo_O

    Now personally I don't agree, which is why when I bought Fergie I did slow walking work with her and the odd trot, while the trainer did a lot more stuff, to get her used to carrying weight again (she had been turned out for 2 years when I got her)

    When I questioned the lunging for strength the answer was

    My own thought is that the wear and tear on legs and body would be greater than the build up from lunging, and there are better ways to do this.

    If it makes any difference the discussion was specifically around OTTB's who of course are used to carrying Jockeys.

    I am prepared to have my mind changed on this one, never retrained an OTTB, seen a few at the barn, never seen one on a lunge line yet....but have no hands on to help me.
     
  2. Friesiangirl

    Friesiangirl Senior Member

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    I don't agree, mostly because you often just get a strung out horse putting concussive angular force on their joints.

    I prefer to do a lot of hand walking at the start, through varied terrain (depending on injuries) followed by introducing long-lines. I have so much more control over the body on long lines. I'll ground drive all over the place, up and down hills. No cart required. I can also make adjustments in the body for the horse, introduce concepts on the ground and observe the body without having to ask for them to carry weight at the same time.

    This is unfortunately a long process.

    Alternatively, where I worked with reiners, we did a LOT of ponying. We found that was "cost efficient" comparatively, and exposed the youngsters to a bunch of things as well as got them exercise. That way you're not going to deal with nearly as much torque on young joints/
     
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  3. Circle C

    Circle C Senior Member

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    Ponying colts is one of my fav things to do.
     
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  4. D_BaldStockings

    D_BaldStockings Senior Member

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    Personally, I believe lunging is useful for teaching voice aids for change of gaits, whoa, and turning all at a distance from the trainer; accustoming horses to new tack and possibly the weight of the rider while continuing in a habit of moving round the trainer at the end of the line.
    Also allows a trainer to see lameness and unevenness that indicates problems for the vet, etc.

    I don't think it builds topline or much muscle unless one does lots of transitions at slow speeds. Long lining can get a horse out of the smaller circle and also responding to rein signals (useful for English riding, at least) and one can take a horse over obstacles before /without a rider (young horses, rehabs) so is more useful for a horse already responsive to voice and whip cues.

    It has its' place, but once a horse can be ridden and has learned all the above, there isn't much more one can do with it. It can be a good check of what a horse does or doesn't know on the ground.
     
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  5. D_BaldStockings

    D_BaldStockings Senior Member

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    Lunging over poles, etc. to learn jumping without a rider is very popular and more flexible than using a jump chute to free jump. You don't want to be interfering with the mouth over jumps.
     
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  6. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    as far as strengthening, you can only generally strengthen the horse if all he would normally do is stand around, by exercising him through ponying. Lunging isn't useful for anything, in my book. You want to build his topline for weight carrying, then ride and condition the horse correctly. Voila' topline.
     
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  7. Compadre

    Compadre Senior Member

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    I use longeing to teach the gaits, as well as the general idea of yielding to pressure and respecting my cues. The amount of longeing required to do those things is.... not much.

    And I don't see any mechanism where it would help in carrying a rider, unless you were longeing with weight on board, which is a bad idea because of what others have said about joint torqueing. Perhaps longeing at a walk with a rider would help in a limited way, but it would generally require two people and as friesiangirl said, ponying is generally better in that situation.
     
  8. Nu5ha

    Nu5ha Senior Member

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    I don't lunge much at all, I've never really needed to do it much anyhow. What I do to condition my horses is a lot of hand walking on different terrain I have handwalked my horses through forests and deserts. I do a lot of walk riding again over different terrain. I use a lot of hills when at all possible. I also like to pony a lot, especially with young or rehabbing horses. Swimming is also good. My uncle likes to ride his bike and have his horse next to him, his preferred method of conditioning the horse sometimes with saddle sometimes without.
     
  9. Breezah

    Breezah Senior Member

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    I'm on the side of the fence that lunging is fairly useless after the horse's early training stages, which involves the teaching of the aids, cues, general obedience to the handler, and the importance of forward motion. It's also helpful should you discover a hole in your training and you need to reinforce some basics on the ground before translating it to the saddle, or if you need to assess a horse's movement.

    Once a horse is dead broke to the aids and has graduated from lunging, I believe the only "useful" ground training technique is ground driving, or long lining - because the handler can use the same rein and leg (whip) aids as they would while riding, and generally the entire perimeter of the arena is used rather than just a circle. This better emulates the environment that a horse would see under saddle. In fact, I can't remember the last time I lunged any of my show horses as it's just not necessary.

    As far as using longeing to strengthen goes... I can't see where this logic comes from. Naturally, a horse who is NOT ALREADY strong is always going to have some level of unbalance to the inside on a circle, therefore it has no hope of moving properly enough to build any muscle. Only an already fit and conditioned horse can balance properly on a circle, after it has learned to balance to the outside rather than the inside - but again, this is why I prefer long lining, because you actually HAVE an outside rein to balance the horse to.

    I've never seen a young, green, or unconditioned horse with good enough balance on a circle to allow for any muscle building.

    And of course, as mooselady said:

     
  10. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    As with everything, it depends on the horse & circumstance.

    If the horse is old enough that all bones are set in the legs & it is super super weak (think not your average horse left to pasture horse) then yes, correct lunging is going to help develop the back muscles. Is that going to equal an easier time carrying weight? Well kinda......any increase in muscle will make the horse have an easier time carrying a load. ( :hah: carrying a :poop:.....:ROFLMAO::rofl:)

    Is it how I'd choose to do things? No - but that doesn't make it completely wrong.
     
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