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People who constantly lunge

15 replies

chocolateorangeinhaler · 27/10/2021 07:28

So i want to check that I'm not thinking incorrectly about lunging.

I see and hear it so often where someone gets a bit spooked on their horse and rather than deal with it by having lessons and learning how to overcome it resort time lunging to calm the horse down.

In certain situations lunging is great. When breaking or to take the edge off if a sharp horse hasn't been ridden for a few days. But I'm taking about everyday horses that people decide not to ride when they arrive but decide to lunge (badly) instead.

I've tried to say to people that they are just getting their horse fitter and fitter and lunging without the horse being in the correct shape is just teaching it that it can go however it wants but to no avail. These people then can't understand why their horse has tons of stamina and won't do on the bridle easily.

Same goes for people who love to say that their sports horse is sharp/fizzy but when asked you find out they are feeding it mix or too much food everyday. Mention cutting out the hard feed (summer only) and look at you as if your bonkers.

I honestly think some people enjoy having horses they can't control or ride easily because when given easy solutions they just won't act on them.

It really is simple. Cut out the food and school it properly and have lessons if your struggling or get someone who can ride well to school it once a week and don't lunge if you don't know how to lunge correctly.

OP posts:
lastqueenofscotland · 27/10/2021 08:35

I do agree to an extent. However I do a lot of instructing and I think confidence is a weird thing. I don’t think trotting a horse round for 10 minutes before getting on is going to get it as fit as a Willy Mullins hurdler in March, and if it means you feel safe enough to get on then why not.
Also if you have a horse that can be a bit tricky/ignorant, I’ve seen lunging before riding work really well in a getting it to listen/stop/start/go in certain directions/basically listen to instructions before getting on - can get their brains in gear.

I do agree with you in the hard feed though I know many a “sharp” horse that’s fed some sugar/starch laden competition mix and is turned out about 29 seconds a week and people wonder why they turn themselves inside out every time they are ridden…

horseymum · 27/10/2021 08:56

Many horses are fed too much. I can't actually remember the last time I saw an underweight horse so it is rarely a problem. Lunging can be a good way to see how your horse goes without a rider but agree many riders are not particularly good at it. Definitely agree that investing in lessons would be a good thing. Lots of people are overhorsed and lose confidence sadly.

whymewhyme · 27/10/2021 09:17

I totally get what your saying, i think when they lunge instead of ride its either they can't be bothered or they are scared to ride. Feeding...people feed too much I'm a believer in feed accourding to work....mine get ridden twice a week and get grass chop and a sprinkle of horse and pony nuts, it's litteraly just a handfull. Don't even start me on rugs!!!!! The amount of over weight fully coated horses in heavy weight full neck rugs drives me bonkers, it's like people get to september and shove a rug on even when its mild.

Sarahlou63 · 27/10/2021 17:40

Are you an instructor?

HighlandCowbag · 27/10/2021 20:35

It's a full management problem. People overfeeding the wrong thing and people not riding enough times a week is what causes the initial problem. Then they lunge to try and solve it, but because they see the horse being sharp decide not to get on. And so the cycle continues.

On the yard I am on, probably 90% of the issues people have could be solved by riding more, under instruction if necessary. Instead they lunge and lunge and lunge. Anyone who rides 4 or 5 times a week doesn't have problems. It really is that simple. There aren't that many horses you can leave 6 days a week and expect a nice ride the day you do want to ride. Add to that more and more novice owners as the cost of riding lessons increase and that's why the average leisure horse is a knobber.

I also really like lunging and longreining but get looked at like I have 2 heads if I suggest that if they are struggling hacking out, they longrein the routes they want to go.

NotMyCat · 27/10/2021 20:38

I used to be terrified and 5-10 mins of lunging before really helped me. But I'm an experienced rider and know that lunging will increase fitness so I would only do the 5-10 mins. It also helped loosen her up (I always walk for 20 mins min to get the joint fluid warmed up)

I think a lot of people underestimate what horses need in terms of exercise, I would often hack for 2-3hrs and cover a fair distance or do a 45 -60 min hack almost all in trot and she wasn't event fit!

FanFckingTastic · 27/10/2021 20:38

Like all things, it's horses for courses (ha!!) There's no right or wrong, just what's right for you and right for your horse.

I lunge or long rein my mare a fair bit. This is because she came to me in need of building up and could barely trot without tripping over her own feet. Lunging has helped her to build up her strength and encourage her to work correctly, in conjunction with riding. I tend to ride 4 times a week and lunge 2... although when she first arrived it was probably the other way round, with less ridden work and more work on the ground.

I don't lunge because I can't be bothered, or because I'm scared. I lunge because it's beneficial for my mare, gives her a variety in the work that she does and hopefully will help to make her into a better horse. I sometimes quite enjoy the bonding benefits of lunging too. It feels like a real achievement when your horse will do something slightly more complicated (a walk to canter transition for example) from just a voice command.

On another point, my instructor offers both lunge, and long reining lessons, as I'm sure many others do, so there's really no need to do it badly!

Feawen · 27/10/2021 22:06

I think many owners would feel more confident if they weren’t being constantly judged and criticised by other horse people.

3cats4poniesandababy · 27/10/2021 22:13

I agree on feeding my novice eventer is fed a small bit of sugar bit, chaff (one on the more calorific end) and a balancer alongside ad lib hay. He isn't a 'good dooer' and even he does fine on that. And that is when fit.

From my experience most poor doers improve a lot with ad lib hay and maybe a biotic if struggling. Yes some need more but not all of them.

CountryCob · 28/10/2021 07:49

@3cats4poniesandababy I completely agree re ad-lib hay and would add that I think hayledge is too much for most. Lunging also puts a lot of strain on the horse, try swimming in a circle to find out. I know of a young horse with two damaged hind tendons because of over lunging. Everything in moderation

CountryCob · 28/10/2021 07:51

If I am being really harsh as well and I hope this doesn’t some mean, right horse for the rider and work you do. I have done this myself after large warm blood days as with work and a young family I just can’t ride as often as they need or provide the routine to keep them happy

CaptainThe95thRifles · 28/10/2021 21:24

I honestly think some people enjoy having horses they can't control or ride easily because when given easy solutions they just won't act on them

Well, yes - lots of people do seem to think that hanging off the back teeth of their underworked, overfed and unschooled lunatic is evidence of their supreme horsemanship. They go hand in hand with the "you're so lucky your horses have basic manners are so good" brigade.

Unfortunately, I know a lot of low level instructors who encourage this sort of thinking in novice owners and steer them towards overhorsing themselves and poor management so that they continue to employ them for very frequent lessons and schooling they could otherwise manage without. I feel sorry for the owners trapped in such a destructive and unnecessary cycle.

NiceTwin · 28/10/2021 21:30

And this is why I am so glad I have my horse at home.
A lot of horse people have an opinion on what's best, sadly, they don't think to keep those opinions to themselves!

MyLifeNow20 · 28/10/2021 21:57

I dont have a lot of time to ride my mare who is 12. Shes quite happy for 1 or 2 hacks a week, we dont go in the school much as I find it boring. I feel like I dont have much time to ride what with work and kids and my mare would be happy if I didnt ride for 2 weeks!

Tonight though I had my little girl and decided I was going to ride and rode for 25 minutes, I felt so pleased I rode tonight as I am a nervous rider.
I dont lunge often but I have done and it makes me feel a whole lot better lunging before getting on if I feel anxious.

ZooKeeper19 · 26/11/2021 00:21

I have never seen anyone lunge a horse in a correct way, let alone lunge a horse to bring any benefit to the horse at all. Either people use bungee cords and what not to tie the poor creature down like a BDSM prop, or they will let the animal run in circles around a stationery human that may alternate clicking and whoa in vain hope that the horse somehow changes his mind and decides to listen.

I am old (ish) and I was taught to lunge in the 90s by some classical dressage and classical riding school teachers those days. They knew, and they were very keen to pass on the knowledge. I have also spent years with a vaulting team, centrepiece of which is an impeccably trained vaulting dressage horse. Watching how that is achieved, as well as getting proper lessons in lunging from ace people means I now cringe every time I see anyone with a horse on a lunge line.

But this also applies to when I watch people ride, 11 out of 10 normal basic riders have too much gear and no skill or will to acquire any skill, no patience, a horse they cannot handle and expectations of ribbons and glory.

And yes, I am a middle-aged whiney judgey bitchy horsey woman, so there.

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