Why is lunging harder work than riding?

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Why does everyone say lunging is harder work than riding?
On another thread someone said that 20 mins is the equivalent of an hour riding?!

I usually lunge for about 30 mins, is this too long?

Thanks
 

BigRed

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I would be terminally bored if I lunged for 30 minutes. I find the faster they go, the more dizzy I get, and nothing I try makes any difference. I hate lunging.
 

Wagtail

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My lunging sessions last 35 minutes. I use the pessoa but only for 20 minutes of that. So 5 mins left rein without pessoa, 5 mins right without, then 4 changes of direction with the pessoa, and then 5 mins cooling off without. So really only 20 minutes proper work, the rest is warm up and cool down.
 

Sheep

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I also feel like (this is unsubstantiated so please feel free to correct) that the constant circular motion could be more strenuous on their joints?

I think I would find running around in circles for ages more tiring than running in straight lines (although to be honest I'd find any running tiring..! ;) )
 

Wagtail

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What I hate the most is when some people do all the lunging one way (say 10 - 15 mins) then the other way for 10 - 15 mins. Now THAT must be an awful strain on the horse. Even though I change every five minutes I sometimes wonder if it is often enough.
 

brown tack

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Mine last about 30mins with a warm up and cool down, but I like to do straight lines and laps around the school too, so not all on a circle with me. It's how I've taught to lunge to do a warm up, change reins every 5mins or so, do some proper work, loosen whatever I'm using, walk/ trot around the school, tighten up, do a bit more work, around the school in work, then cool down.

My last horse was a sod to lunge, by the time he was sold he was the most enjoyable horse to lunge, I found he gave so much on the lunge
 

Wagtail

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Mine last about 30mins with a warm up and cool down, but I like to do straight lines and laps around the school too, so not all on a circle with me. It's how I've taught to lunge to do a warm up, change reins every 5mins or so, do some proper work, loosen whatever I'm using, walk/ trot around the school, tighten up, do a bit more work, around the school in work, then cool down.

My last horse was a sod to lunge, by the time he was sold he was the most enjoyable horse to lunge, I found he gave so much on the lunge
Agree with this. I use the whole of the 60 x 30 arena for lunging in. It is far more interesting to move around and you can get the horses right up into their spooky corners or ask them to lengthen their stride down the straight.
 

Hels_Bells

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'twas I that 20 mins said lunging can be equiv to an hour ridden, I must admit I cannot tell you the exact metaphysics behind it, but think about how much more you have to hold a horse up to achieve a 10 or 15m circle in trot or canter compared to a 20m circle etc. Also if the horse is being longed in an outline I.e. With a Pessoa, side Reins etc they may work harder than a 60 mins hack not in an outline.
Also lunging in circles on soft and hard ground does form part of a standard flexion test where a vet purposefully loads joints to show up defects.

I confess I cannot provide empirical evidence for the claim but if the word of a world class dressage rider is ok then that's my best justification! ;)

Of course none of this means there is anything wrong with lungeing a horse for 20 mins or 35 if it's fit enough! It's a great tool for fitness, balance and more! :D
 

monkeybum13

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I wouldn't say that 20mins is harder as in tiring than 1 hours riding but its more stress on the joints as you're working on a circle all the time.

When I lunge my mare I walk her around the outside of the arena to warm up/cool down so she's not on a circle.
I change the rein often too :)
 

fatpiggy

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Circles are much harder work for the horse because they have to use their back end alot more, and we tend to lunge on smaller circles than we would ride, so even harder work for them. I used to do it for a maximum of 30 minutes, changing the rein every 5 minutes or more frequently with lots of transitions and pace within a pace. Poles could be added too for extra effort and mental work for the horse. Lunging should never be boring if it is done properly.
 
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I long reign as I have read that lunging small cirles are strenuous on joints, please correct me if I'm wrong plus I free lunge around field so larger area
 

Red-1

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I do lungeing but use the whole arena at 30 X 30, with some smaller circles at each end, down to 20 or 15 m, then large again. I also change rein a lot, she will change rein without coming in so no need to stop start. We just halt, "And Changgggeee" and she will walk a turn and walk onto the new circle. I don't tend to use gadgets, but she works in an outline and uses herself. But that is a long/low outline, except where we make the circles smaller when she will engage more and lift.

I don't free lungeing, as bad lungeing and free lungeing both encourage them going round with their head out, shoulder in, inverted and leaning in IME. That is very wearing!

I know from myself that circling small circles, especially in one direction, hurts my ankles, too much repetitive strain.
 
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