A spot of lunging

We all know how beneficial lunging can be, so I roped my friend in to lunging Cee for me…



I’m not a huge fan of lunging. I get all in a muddle with the whip and rope and to be honest, it makes me feel really dizzy. So I persuaded my lovely friend that she wanted to spend her Friday night lunging my pony for me. That’s true love!


Jo is also generally much braver than me, which is useful as Cyryl likes to find any excuse to “play up” on the lunge. I think he does it to amuse himself, but it doesn’t amuse me.

We had a 20 minute session, walk trot and canter on both reins. He was pretty voice responsive, especially considering that he’s not that used to Jo’s voice. However, he did leap in to canter and throw in a couple of bucks for extra measure when we got after him to go forwards. Naughty boy!


We used a roller with side-reins, although I’m not sure how effective they are. I feel like they either don’t do anything, or they force the horse’s head down in to a false outline, which is not going to work the back properly.

I think I may investigate those elastic bungee tools for lunging, so if you have any recommendations, please let me know!





  1. Personally I use a bungie for lunging my mare I feel it encourages her head down but doesn’t force it as there is give πŸ™‚ (my mare would have a bit of a strop in side reins as she doesn’t like the immediate pressure were as a bungie she can slowly give in to the pressure as she warms up)

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  2. This is probably of no help whatsoever so sorry in advance (also I suck at lunging, really really badly!!)… I used to be scared of Nico on the lunge he would leap around and run full speed whilst circling ever closer. However, as I had no one else to help I had to work through it, it took me a long time and honestly I don’t think he really started to behave better (I just got braver) until we started our free-jumping, which we do weekly. Since he’s not attached he can leap about and be as silly as he likes and it’s not hurting either of us, consequently he’s better when attached.
    Also now he’s more used to my voice and directions he calms down much more after spooking on the lunge and doesn’t go as nuts, I think also because he trusts me more (I only bought him a couple of years ago).

    So our normal routine is:
    Saturday: Free-Jump (so he can loosen up for the new week without me on)
    Thursday:Lunge (so he can stretch off after his ridden work before his day off)
    Friday: Off
    Seems to work for us at least πŸ™‚

    I have to admit I have a Pessoa type system but have been too scared to use it in case I do it wrong so I normally lunge in just a head collar, unless I’m lunging in the field in which case it’s bridle all the way as last time I tried the head collar out there he broke the lunge line – the metal part – with me attached – and took himself back to bed!
    Anywho I find he stretches much nicer in just the head collar (a nice padded leather one) rather than a bridle πŸ™‚

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    • Actually this is helpful πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your routine – I really like the idea of warming up for the week of work and then stretching out after it! I keep meaning to try loose jumping because I think he’ll love it! Might give the headcollar a go too. It’s worth trying everything to see what works best, I think!


  3. I also use a pessoa but before I did I started with ground work. Using a lead rope length and getting her used to working in small circles on each rein, letting it out foot by foot. When she was a hooligan I’d wind the rope in so that it was a small circle again – and really hard work for her.

    It takes a while for them to get the hang of a pessoa and learn how to work in an outline to reduce the pressure. I did 2-3 weeks of walk starting with it so loose it acted as a martingale, so only if my mare, Abbey, did a giraffe impression it would apply pressure Bit by bit I tightened it up until it would apply pressure if she didn’t work long and low and over her back. She got the idea pretty quickly but as she’d not worked like this under saddle either I kept sessions short – no more than 5 mins each rein. We built it up minute by minute until we were doing 10 minutes each rein and then introduced trot. At first I let her almost jog. Abbey needed to learn how to balance herself working in trot long and low. This did mean that she ended up on the forehand but it’s important to get those baby steps right and she’d already learn to step through from behind in the walk. Each time I asked for a little more impulsion.

    Slowly, slowly also helps them learn that lungeing isn’t about running around.

    I only lunge once or twice a week now but at first I was lunging in the pessoa 3/4 times just so as there wasn’t too much gap inbetween sessions. I really like the pessoa; it encourages them to use their back end too.

    Good luck!

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