Friday, 3 April 2015

All About ... Lungeing Equipment

Lungeing is a useful skill to have and one that improves with practice!  This is basically when the horse works on a circle around you whilst on a long line.

There are several reasons for lungeing a horse:

  • To start to train a young horse.  Lungeing helps make the horse obedient to the voice and to learn to accept tack, 
  • To work a horse that is not able to be ridden eg: he has a saddle sore, 
  • If the rider cannot ride for some reason, 
  • To work off excess energy and excitement before mounting, 
  • To help build muscle, 
  • To improve suppleness, 
  • To work on a rider's position, 
  • To start to train a horse over jumps and/or poles, 
  • To add variety to the horse's work routine, 
  • To save time (lunging for half an hour is equivalent to at least 1 hour schooling).

To lunge a horse there is some basic equipment that you will need.  However, there are many 'extras' which you may or may not wish to use depending on your experience, the horse and what you are hoping to achieve.

Basic Equipment:
  • Lunge line

  • Headcollar 
  • Brushing boots (see my boots blog) 
  • Gloves 
  • Hat 
  • Lunge whip

Extra Equipment:
  • Lungeing cavesson

Picture shows a lungeing cavesson fitted under the bridle.

  • Bridle 
  • Side reins 
  • Side reins come in many different forms and can be leather or synthetic, they can have elastic inserts to allow some 'give'. 
  • Lungeing roller or saddle

Fitting the equipment:
  • If using a headcollar ensure it is fastened correctly. 
  • If using a bridle, fit as usual, see my blog , but twist the reins and pass one through the throatlash before securing that! 
  • If using a lungeing cavesson ensure it will fit by holding it up to the horse's head before putting it on.  If it looks approximately the correct size you can put it on as you would a bridle.  Ensure the noseband is not so high that it will rub the cheek bone, but also that it is not so low that it will pinch the skin. The straps should be done up tightly enough that the cavesson will not slide around. 
  • If you are using a cavesson and a bridle (as in the picture above) it is best to remove the noseband from the bridle.  Fit the cavesson first and the bridle on top as described above. 
  • If using a saddle, fit as usual (see my blog). Ensure the stirrups are secure by looping the leather back around and passing the loose end through.
  •   Loop the side reins under the  girth straps.  To check the length hold the clip up to the bit (do not attach) - it should just reach the bit ring.  Attach the clip of the side reins to the 'D' ring on the other side of the pommel until you are ready to use them. 
  • If using a roller, the side reins can be attached through the straps or through a ring - depending on what you are working towards.  If you are new to side reins ensure they are attached at a similar height to the bit!  Ensure the side reins are the correct length again by holding the clip up to the bit.   
  • You should ALWAYS wear gloves and NEVER wrap the lunge line around your hand.  It is also advisable to wear a hard hat. 
  • There are some amazing products available now which are designed to help you train your horse into a 'shape' whilst lungeing. 

I have not used any of these and have mixed feelings about them.  I think that if you use them correctly they will be beneficial.  However, many people do not use them correctly and the horse is the one that suffers!

Did you see Wednesday's video ' How to  .... use a weigh tape' ?
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Until next time!

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