Lunging...is this enough to really do anything?

horsefeed

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Varies reasons, I am massively short on time at the moment, mare is getting ridden 1 -2 times a week but its not enough and she is live wire, very jumpy and spooky. I am desperately trying to get weight (and muscle) on her which her behaviour is being counter productive for.
I have time in my routine (just) to add lunging for 15/20 mins 3 times a week of lunging, Is this enough to be doing her any physically good, improve her fitness, maybe help take the edge of her?
I have a Pessoa, which I was thinking of adding after a couple of weeks to make her work harder.
She hates long reining or lunging with 2 reins with a passion, owned her 5 years and never been able to resolve issues she panics and runs blindly so as much as I would rather long rein its not going to happen with this rather strange little mare!
 
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I lunge my young mare twice a week for 20 minutes on a Pessoa to work on her canter and she is also ridden four days a week. It's better than doing nothing as they're still working and being exercised.
 

Shay

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Anything is better than nothing to take the edge off -but it probably isn't enough for increase fitness. Do be careful with introducing a pessoa if she does not react well to 2 lines. She may find the line around her bottom too terrifying to contemplate. Also make sure she doesn't just charge around on a small circle as you could end up putting too much stress on her joints.
 

Orca

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Mine is unbroken and I've seen a surprising increase in her level of fitness from just 15-20 mins walk/trot on lunge, a few times a week. We were coming from a very unfit start though. I agree re pessoa. It might be worth trying to retrain her to accept two lines first, if possible (and with a second pair of hands) and if not possible, I wouldn't use one.
 
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madlady

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I'd personally loose school over lunging if possible. I'm not a huge fan of lunging as I don't like the stress it can put onto joints if over done - especially for bigger horses. If that is your only option though it's certainly better than nothing for letting off excess energy.

If she doesn't like long reining then maybe try loose side reins to stop her hollowing or a chambon rather than a pessoa.
 

KAZJAZ

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when it was just too dark to ride I would lunge my mare a couple times a week, she hates the pessoa with a passion so I use a bungee to encourage her to stretch down, I generally don't lunge longer than 20mins and I make sure that its a good forward walk with purpose, in trot I do my best to change the tempo within pace, I hate watching horses bumbling round endlessly. I make as much use of the 1 light we have in the arena and move around whilst doing our circles and increase and decrease them in size, if light enough I would place poles out on a large circle and raise alternate ends on them.
 

Deseado

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15 - 20 mins of proper lunging (as in really working, rather than just running around on the end of a string) is an excellent way of improving fitness, balance, top line muscling, suppleness and obedience. Lunging is rather underutilised in this country, correctly applied it is an invaluable tool.

For those who routinely worry about all these "stresses" on joints, what evidence are you basing this on? I've never had a horse injure itself as a result of lunging, and I've been doing it for nearly 40 years.
 

Damnation

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I love lunging. Suprising how much muscle it can help to build. I like to lunge in just a headcollar and encourage the horse to stretch down, especially if they don't have loads of muscle. Just builds muscle and helps balance. My old boss taught me how to lunge this way and spot when the muscles were "bouncing" (I.e being used properly!).

Remember, if you are putting your horse into a "shape" for 15-20 minutes on the lunge, but they don't have the muscle to do it you will just end up with issues under saddle. And on the lunge you can't ask and then release with fixed gadgets like side reins etc. I like a good old headcollar and a nice stretch.
 

horsefeed

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She has worn a pessoa before, she jumps forwards initially when the line is put round her hind but settles quickly, its like she instantly knows she can't escape so excepts it. I have tried de-sensitising her to long reining so many times, even with extra hands, she will happily stand with it round her, both in lunging with 2 reins or behind as if going to long rein but minute you ask her forward she panics and starts running and then session is over as she loses all ability to concentrate! I think she knows she can run from it so refuses to accept it. She's a very annoying mare for instance, every time you get on her it like re-backing, you have to lean over for few mins, then leg over and then slowly sit up, get lead round the yard and then if she doesn't erupt you are save to take stirrups and ride her away! She really struggle to remember anything unless she loves it!
 

Damnation

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She has worn a pessoa before, she jumps forwards initially when the line is put round her hind but settles quickly, its like she instantly knows she can't escape so excepts it. I have tried de-sensitising her to long reining so many times, even with extra hands, she will happily stand with it round her, both in lunging with 2 reins or behind as if going to long rein but minute you ask her forward she panics and starts running and then session is over as she loses all ability to concentrate! I think she knows she can run from it so refuses to accept it. She's a very annoying mare for instance, every time you get on her it like re-backing, you have to lean over for few mins, then leg over and then slowly sit up, get lead round the yard and then if she doesn't erupt you are save to take stirrups and ride her away! She really struggle to remember anything unless she loves it!
Have you had her checked over? (Back, Saddle, Vet) as this is very strange behaviour. If she is "Cold backed" to this extent, and especially over winter getting very wound up, she could have a pain related issue that the cold weather is exaserbating. My last mare was cold backed. Was told she was young, nothing to worry about etc. She had a slipped disk in her spine and had to be PTS. Never take chances with that type of behaviour.
 

horsefeed

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Everything checked regularly, in fact both back person and massage lady always comment on how good her back and flexibility is compared to other horses they work on.
She is just generally awkward, my vet says she strangest animal he's met in 30 years practising!! He reckons she has some sort of learning difficulty.
Some things she takes to like a fish to water and other things she just struggles insanely to remember and because she's nervous if unsure she panics. When ridden everyday mounting massively improves.
 
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15 - 20 mins of proper lunging (as in really working, rather than just running around on the end of a string) is an excellent way of improving fitness, balance, top line muscling, suppleness and obedience. Lunging is rather underutilised in this country, correctly applied it is an invaluable tool.

For those who routinely worry about all these "stresses" on joints, what evidence are you basing this on? I've never had a horse injure itself as a result of lunging, and I've been doing it for nearly 40 years.
There was some research done on circular horsewalkers V oval horsewalkers that I read a while back. It certainly made me decide that constant circling was not something that my horses would do. I've not read anything that specifically researched lunging, but constant turning is constant turning.
 

JennBags

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There was some research done on circular horsewalkers V oval horsewalkers that I read a while back. It certainly made me decide that constant circling was not something that my horses would do. I've not read arnything that specifically researched lunging, but constant turning is constant turning.
Completely agree, I wouldn't want to lunge more than once a week on a regular basis, and rarely lunge my horse.
 

Deseado

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But correct lunging shouldn't just be running around in a circle, should it? There will be changes of rein, moving the circle (i.e. straight bits, or an oval if you prefer), myriad transitions, perhaps some poles or cavalletti. Just haranguing a horse around on a rope is very far from using the lunge properly.
 

stencilface

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There was some research done on circular horsewalkers V oval horsewalkers that I read a while back. It certainly made me decide that constant circling was not something that my horses would do. I've not read anything that specifically researched lunging, but constant turning is constant turning.
I think thats also quite reliant on the surface they're on too, as if its rubber their hooves stick more and the leg is given more resistance when they are constantly on a circle.

Lunging is good I think if used properly, is built up properly and is made interesting. I will be lunging my ponies this year before backing them, as well as long reining - but they're so tiny anyway that a 10m lunge rope will give tham a huge circle in comparison to their leg length! :)
 

Tiddlypom

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15 to 20 minutes lunging isn't very long if it includes the warm up and cool down period, though it's better than nothing. I do 5 mins on each rein in free walk first (no gadgets), then start the work period proper, then cool off in free walk on both reins at the end. It takes about half an hour in total.

I do lots of work all the way along the long sides and ovals too, along with many changes of rein, not just endless circles. Makes me glad my arena is only 40m x 20m, I get puffed enough doing all that running in my old age :eek:.
 

kamili

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15 to 20 minutes lunging isn't very long if it includes the warm up and cool down period, though it's better than nothing. I do 5 mins on each rein in free walk first (no gadgets), then start the work period proper, then cool off in free walk on both reins at the end. It takes about half an hour in total.

I do lots of work all the way along the long sides and ovals too, along with many changes of rein, not just endless circles. Makes me glad my arena is only 40m x 20m, I get puffed enough doing all that running in my old age :eek:.
I follow this method too and had a ridden lesson recently with my instructor who said she was surprised at the difference in my gelding. I hadn't lunged him in quite some time but got him going once a week in just a headcollar, then introduced the pessoa and only gave him ten minutes in him. I try to make the circles as big as I can and walk around the inside with him to give him more room.

She says he is carrying himself better and his transitions have improved. I tend to do some walk to trot then back to walk to start out with, then trot to canter to trot then back to walk transitions to get him listening to me.
My back person has also said it is very good for him to be lunged that way too, long and low and make him stretch, but again with a proper warm up and warm down period with no gadgets.
 
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