It’s so important to use the right equipment and learn the basics before you get started. That way, your horse will be happy and comfortable and you’ll both stay safe. Let’s start by looking at the kit you need for lunging:
- A lunge cavesson. You might have seen people lunge their horse from a headcollar or by leading the lunge line through the bit, but we would not recommend either. A headcollar will get pulled into an uncomfortable position simply by the contact from the lunge line and lunging off the bridle is risky if the horse gets excited and catches themself in the mouth. Using a cavesson is the best choice because it’s designed to stay in place during lunging.
- A lunge line. A purpose-made lunge line is essential because even the most docile horse can get excited on the lunge! If they are being strong or trying to run off, a rope could burn your hands or even break under pressure.
- A hat and gloves. Gloves will protect your hands if your horse is excitable, and a hat is essential in case there’s an accident or your horse gets very exuberant.
- A lunge whip. A lunge whip is not used to hit the horse, instead they are used to ask the horse to move forward or to encourage them out onto the circle if they fall in.
- A roller. A roller is necessary when you first start lunging your horse but if you want to get more out of your sessions in the future, they are very useful. Using a roller means you can attach side reins or a lunge aid, such as our patented and self-centering EquiAmi!
- Brushing and/or overreach boots. Some horses can get very excited when they are lunged and have a buck and a play, so you may want to pop on some boots to protect your horse from injury.
Now that you and your horse are kitted out and ready to get started, it’s time to head to the school or lunge pen to start the session. If you don’t have access to either then a well-drained and flat field can be fine for lunging, just make sure there’s no risk of the horse slipping if they rush forward on a small circle. Here are some tips to help your first lunging session go smoothly:
- Keep your circle large and round – aim for between 15 and 20 metres – to allow your horse to balance and work effectively.
- Only lunge for 5 minutes on either rein before you switch back and forth. Longer than that will place undue stress on your horses’ joints and isn’t comfortable for them to go for longer than that. If you don’t believe us, try jogging in a 5/7m circle for ten mins – that’s the equivalent of a much larger circle for them and we bet you find it awkward after a while!
- If your horse tends to wobble in towards you at a certain point on the circle, gently point the end of your lunging whip at their shoulder area. This should encourage them back out onto the track of their circle without you even having to touch them.
- Stay organised – keep the trailing end of your lunge line layered back and forth over your palm so you don’t risk tripping over it or getting caught up. Never wrap the lunge line around your hand as you might get trapped if the horse spooks or bolts.
- Teach your horse to lunge quietly and don’t encourage them to go wild on the lunge as they could injure you or themselves.
We hope these tips help you make a success of your lunging sessions with your horse. If you are on the hunt for lunging equipment, then make sure you visit our shop and take a look around. We aim to be as sustainable as possible with our business, so everything is manufactured in the UK and comes in recyclable packaging.