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Lunging aid to maintain muscle?

Love

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Hi everyone, I'm hoping for some suggestions.

I have a 13yo connie who is well schooled. I have recently started a new job with a much longer commute (and horrifically unreliable trains) so I am struggling to consistently get down on time to school him on an evening. Before, I was able to school 4-5 days a week where as now it has dropped to around 2 if I am lucky (with hacking at the weekend) and I have noticed a difference in him muscle wise - I'm not surprised but never the less want to try and prevent this continuing.
I have a lovely loaner who shares him 2 days a week although she doesnt school much and prefers to mooch on a hack - not an issue for me as she is great with him and they are a great match - but it doesnt help me much with trying to maintain muscle/topline etc.

I am in search of a lunging aid that would help to maintain his muscle and topline for the days where I just dont have the time to tack up and school properly. What do you all reccommend? Currently he is just lunged in a headcollar on days I cannot ride - great for exercising him but he certainly doesn't use himself properly!

Thanks in advance :)
 

Shay

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There are a range of aids which are said to help with top line / muscle developement. But they all need to be used correctly and lunging itself is more than just letting the horse run round you on a line wearing bits of kit. It is often (if not always!) worth getting some professional instruction on how to lunge correctly and what the various bits of kit do. I'm not anti kit, or anti lunging. But I do see - all too often - kit being misused becuase the human doesn't quite understand how to fit it, how to apply it etc.

OP you don't state your experience and I have no intention of cuasing offence. My deepest apologies if you are already experienced or trained in lunging. But others will also read this thread who are less so.

But if you want a reccomendation for easy use - or at least difficult to misuse! - check out the Waldhausen rope. My current favourite as a start point to encouraging correct work without strapping them down.
 

SEL

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I watched a few gadgets being used at a clinic once and the horse looked most comfortable in the equiami - but I see a lot of photos online of horses wearing it more tightly than the demo.

I like long lining but I'm not very good at it!
 

Wheels

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You dont need a lunging aid to maintain muscle, if you can learn to lunge to create the right pace, rhythm and footfall then the horse will work in self carriage and this will be far more beneficial.

Slower in-hand lateral and collected work will also help to build topline and general muscle tone - body sculpting rather than cardio :)
 

greenbean10

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I lunge mine in a very loose bungee or else I long rein. If you lunge/long rein over raised poles you won't need a gadget as this will have them stretching anyway.

Also I know you said otherwise but I do find hacking the best for building muscle. Ask your sharer to do lots of hills and keep your connie walking forwards - doesn't need to be to a contact but just working forwards on trickier terrain should be enough. I genuinely think hacking is the best. And make sure he has enough food!
 

twiggy2

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I never really found lunging any quicker,the horse still needs warming up and cooling off, in fact if anything it took longer as you warm up without the contraption, then ad the contraption loose, warm up and get the horse stretching more, then adjust again and then take off to cool down.
Walking and trotting in hand over poles, on and off platforms, raised piles etc I would find more beneficial and quicker as you just need a head collar.
 

SaddlepadHoarder

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Instructor a few years back reccomend a Pessoa for a loan horse I had at the time and showed me how to use it properly. Definitely helps them use their behind properly and work into an outline. Before that though I just used a lunge line coming off the roller that came behind the horses bum and a line connected to the lunge cavesson or bridle. This worked well too.

TBH gadgets aren't always needed and in hand work over poles or lunging over poles/calavetti can work too!
 

Bonnie Allie

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11 June 2019
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How is your fitness? If you have a long commute to work is your exercise routine being disrupted as well?

Could you combine to two with more active lunging? Hubby is a professional trainer and all gadgets are banned at our place but lunging and ground work is king for when I am time poor.

I have to put my runners on to work my horse on the lunge. Lots of pole work at trot and canter, lots of running and down the long side at canter, executing volte as we go, lots of change of direction.

when I get too knackered, we get my heart rate down again by doing groundwork such as shoulder in (at walk) from the ground.

Gives horse allround work out, working over raised poles really keeps the muscle up and my fitness has improved out of sight.

Skills need to be good at lunging and groundwork and I’ve fallen over more than once, but it working for both of us.
 

JanetGeorge

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lol, forget the equipment - it all takes time - and go for loose schooling using your voice, your position, and a teensy bit of lunge whip. Horses will move in a way that they are confident and comfortable with. First is a home-bred mare at 4 (had to stay in field for 2 years after that because she went VERY bum high - but nothing to do with how she was worked, lol.) She just naturally went for LDO! Whereas, a young stallion LOVED rearing - didn't really work for him so had to go back to long-lining or riding. The other stallion loved jumping loose - you didn't even have to head him back - he'd jump - and then either go round and do it again - or do a turn on a teensy circle and go back the other way, lol.

Jezebel-LDO.jpg Rambo-stallion-1.jpg Czar-jump.jpg T
 

sbloom

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You dont need a lunging aid to maintain muscle, if you can learn to lunge to create the right pace, rhythm and footfall then the horse will work in self carriage and this will be far more beneficial.

Slower in-hand lateral and collected work will also help to build topline and general muscle tone - body sculpting rather than cardio :)
This, again and again. Gadgets fool the eye into thinking the horse is round and working from behind, but posturally they do the horse no good whatsoever and I think potentially contribute to the problems we see in horses today in many cases (SI, KS, hind leg issues). Check out things like straightnesstraining.com, other close in hand work methods, then use lunging/longlining for fitness.
 

Red-1

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I just use a halter and line, or 2 lines. I praise whenever the horse goes as I wish, and allow a downwards transition.

It only took a couple of sessions for her to realise that lifting her back and powering in a balanced way meant a verbal reward and a rest.

We started with her having to trot and as soon as she lowered her head she was praised and had a walk. Soon she was lowering and we could extend the trot tie before the reward.

For the bend, we did smaller circles with the whip towards her tummy until she bent the correct way, then she was vocally rewarded and allowed to go large (or, indeed, allowed another walk).

She now goes beautifully, off a halter, walk/trot/canter. Next up is to work on lengthening/shortening. having said that, I am doing more riding now so it may be next winter before we get that down.

For the first few sessions it is a bit frustrating as you spend more time rewarding/resting than being active. But it is amazing how quickly thy pick it up. It also leads to many happy head rub moments. They horse starts to actively seek out a reward response, it is very much bond-building. To me, that is a lot better than simply tying them down.

I am another who also lunges large, needing shoes suitable for running up and down in.
 

Starzaan

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This, again and again. Gadgets fool the eye into thinking the horse is round and working from behind, but posturally they do the horse no good whatsoever and I think potentially contribute to the problems we see in horses today in many cases (SI, KS, hind leg issues). Check out things like straightnesstraining.com, other close in hand work methods, then use lunging/longlining for fitness.
Me three. Gadgets mostly do more harm than good. Learning how to lunge correctly with two reins is the best plan, as is using the whole arena to prevent unnecessary strain on the legs.
 

SEL

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I listened to a Sue Dyson podcast yesterday where she was advocating the pessoa to help strengthen horses. I find it interesting that one of the top lameness specialists is ok with a gadget.
 

windand rain

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The passoa is the top of my hate list with gadgets they are rarely fitted properly and in my experience even more rarely get the horse off the forehand. I have stood watching a so called expert using one and the beautiful young warmblood she was using it on was ploughing a furrow with its nose and trailing its hock two counties behind while the expert was telling everyone how well he was coming through. Crossed that expert off my list of possible trainers
 

Otherwise

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I do not get the idea that lunging with two reins is the ideal at all, though it often seems be touted as such. Folk diss the lunging aids for gobbing the horse in the mouth, but that is just what a lunge rein draped around the horse’s hocks does, every stride.
I take the outside line over the withers rather than around the hocks when lunging, I don't see how you can have a consistent contact with it otherwise.
 

Chianti

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I take the outside line over the withers rather than around the hocks when lunging, I don't see how you can have a consistent contact with it otherwise.
That's very interesting as I struggle with the outside line falling too low and then if I keep it higher I worry I've got too strong a contact. Do you put the line through any of the rings on a roller to keep it in place?
 

Tiddlypom

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I’ve seen two rein lunging done well when the reins (or better still ropes) are run through terrets fixed to the top of the roller. I’ve done it under instruction, but don’t feel happy that I can have a sensitive enough contact with all that length of rope/rein in between my hand and the horse’s mouth.

6A6FAB34-B640-433B-912D-6AC551A20C8F.jpeg
 

tristar

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but does sue dyson spend a lot of time training horses or is she a vet, it might be difficult to do both no?

and what justification can she offer for using any artificial aid, how many horses has she trained from unhandled to advanced to see the effect on the horses way of going, or how many horses has she used this gadget herself on to see the results herself in remedial scenarios, and has she studied the adverse effects of unnatural postural lunging, too many unanswered questions .
 

bouncing_ball

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I’ve seen two rein lunging done well when the reins (or better still ropes) are run through terrets fixed to the top of the roller. I’ve done it under instruction, but don’t feel happy that I can have a sensitive enough contact with all that length of rope/rein in between my hand and the horse’s mouth.

View attachment 40708
I long rein in arena with reins through lowest ring on roller and behind horse. You do have quite a lot of leverage. Though sadly not enough on open field to hold a horse choosing to depart at speed!

i mostly long rein at walk or on a circle.

Morecroft (racehorse rehab) use reins through stirrups, and behind bum as key part of their rehab training. they run instruction courses.
 

rara007

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but does sue dyson spend a lot of time training horses or is she a vet, it might be difficult to do both no?
.
She has made plenty of top class horses including Advancedeventers and grade A SJers which I would assume took time! There’s certainly Olympic eventers she’s helped produce too. She spends far longer analysing horses than any of us with non lameness evaluation day jobs will ever get the luxury to do. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised she’s spent more hours critically analysing horses than I’ve been alive! I think she’s pretty much ‘just’ a researcher and speaker now she’s retired from the AHT but I’m not sure?
 

rara007

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To answer OP, I’m not sure using most gadgets would work out quicker than riding tbh! I have an equiami but to get the lengths as I want them isn’t that quick. I do like 2 line lunging as you can move them up and down more than you can with just a head collar, especially if they’re struggling to ‘get’ that lunging means work too. The videos were filmed with only 1 hand on the reins and over a year ago but gives you the idea!


 

tristar

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I would imagine more horses than anyone else alive considering what she does and what her research is based on.

she must be super human


if she is so good why has she not found a natural way to work horses, or tell us why so many horses are unsound

i saw somewhere she said that a high percentage of horses are lame, or thereabouts, its the causes that that interest me like the modern lifestyle of horses and how they are worked, the owners perceptions of how to work a horse to keep it sound and why they feel they need gadgets in the first place and does the pessoa result in making a horse become unsound in the first place

are the horse `really lame`or are they in need of remedial work carried out based on the principles of classical riding and its tendency to put right horses posture with the emphasis on the horses welfare not just competitions

and further welfare issues involving breeding horses for specific purposes instead of the integrity of breed qualities and the ability to stay sound
 
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