Hey bloggers,

We hope everyone had a lovely Easter long weekend and enjoyed lots of delicious treats. This issue of the Baker’s blog is going to be based on lunging and hand/lunging exercises. Lunging, also referred to as longing, is a very useful tool for training your horse. When a horse is being lunged, the horse moves in a circle around the handler. As a handler, he/she controls the horse by using aids such as your voice, the lunge rope, and body language to communicate to the horse. The handler can ask the horse to move faster or slower, bend/flex on a circle, or move closer to or father away from you. These tools allow the horse to be sensitive and aware to aids without any rider interference. Lunging allows the horse to figure out basic tasks themselves, and allows the horse the opportunity to sort things out they might be otherwise confused about when ridden. An example of this is keeping a steady contact. As riders, we can become very busy with our hands and by accident teach our horses to be even more fidgety but by lunging, it is mutually beneficial for both horse and rider. For one, the horse can learn to take a consistent contact that it consistent, and the rider can watch how the horse can keep a steady frame and contact for mental reassurance that the horse can indeed be packaged together. By lunging your horse, “you are able to watch it from the ground so you can monitor its movement, soundness and natural frame.” 

Some useful points to lunging include the following:

-teaches obedience, especially to voice commands and aids

-increases fitness

-allows rider to wok on their position and skills while another person controls the horse

-helps the horse learn to move on a circle and helps encourage bend and flexion

-useful for calming down a hot horse prior to being ridden at home or at a competition

-great tool to introduce a horse to a new environment

-allows you to observe the horse’s movement for any changes or lamenesses 

From lunging, horses are able to develop a top line and provides a different exercise while being worked. Handlers can throw in trot poles, small jumps etc. while lunging to practice keeping the horse’s rhythm and consistency, which will in turn be beneficial once the handler rides the horse after because they will see visually what it takes for the horse to perform the task. 

At Baker’s, we offer side reins and the Pessoa lunging system to assist you in your lunging routines/exercises. Side reins are great because you can take them anywhere you go, whether it be a horse show, a clinic etc. and are a great training tool for horses learning to accept a contact. There are two types of side reins you can use. One is elasticized side reins, which help accustom a horse “to the feel of pressure on the bit, and reward the horse when it gives or flexes to bit pressure.” The second type of side rein is solid side reins, which are usually used for more advanced horses who already have knowledge on holding a contact. They provide the horse with, “something to take contact with, encourage balance and correct head carriage, help a horse develop self-carriage, and help stop a horse from over-bending in the neck.” The Pessoa Lunging system is designed to encourage balance and a gradual build-up of the top-line muscles. Invented by Nelson Pessoa, an international show jump rider, he created a system that is based on the principles of pressure and release. This lunging technique increases the use of the horse’s back muscles, and works to encourage your horse to step under himself as he travels forward. Depending on your horses training and level or fitness, the Pessoa Lunging system can be used in four different configurations. 

<-- This image shows the Pessoa lunging system 

<-- This image shows lunging using side reins 

In our blog, we are going to be featuring some great exercises from our readers and Baker’s clients to add to your lunging knowledge. One tip from a fellow equestrians and participant is to use the lightest lunge whip you can find. Your hands start to hurt after a certain duration of time lunging so even though it might not feel heavy at first, it makes a difference. Also, removing your reins completely from your bridle while lunging is beneficial to avoid unnecessary distractions to your horse. If you wish to keep you reins on your bridle while lunging, a great way to keep them from being a distraction is to twist the reins and then feed your throat latch through your reins to keep them secure. Another great tip from one of our participants is to put boots on your horse while lunging to prevent them from hitting themselves. Even though we aren’t riding our horse while we are lunging them, we want to protect their legs.  

We appreciate all our lunging tips from our Baker’s cliental, and stay tuned on facebook when we reveal our contest winner :) 

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