I for one is one of those that find lunging rather boring. Specially when you stand there in the poring rain and all you wish is to be back home on your sofa. However there are ways to make lunging more fun and interesting, so I trailed through the internet and asked on Instagram to see what different ways there were and found the list below. However before you start trying out these ways, please consult with a professional if you don’t feel you have enough knowledge to do it alone for the first time.
Laying poles on the ground will make sure your horse will liften up his legs and use his back more. This is also a great way to train balance, rhythm and for example starting to teach piaffe if you do dressage. Many Grand Prix rides use these techniques to better the horses movements. I would love to do this with Mr.Grumpy as it would benefit his back greatly , but unfortunately he doesn’t approve of poles.
Cavalettis is more or less the same as using poles, but it will lift the pole from the ground. This means the horse needs to use his legs and back which in return will strengthen them greatly. You can for example use Cavalettis to teach a horse to jump better, like for example when to jump or to slow down before a jump. This one is a great muscle builder for your horse and on google you can find loads of ways on how to set them up, I found this link pretty useful.
3. Go backwards
I never thought about this one before I heard about it from a stable mate. Ask your horse to go backwards on the lunge, this will strengthen his backlegs and back, but don’t do it too much as its a strainious exercise for the horse.
4. Walk to canter transition
Another one that seems very logical, make your horse do a walk to canter transition while lunging. This will show you if the horse really listens to you or not, plus its a good back strengthen exercise.
5. Without a rope
Before doing this one, make sure you have a round arena to use, otherwise it might be very difficult the first couple of times. You can do lunging without having a lead rope attached. I usually do this when we want to have more fun and when I want him to run more freely. The first five minutes he won’s listen at all, but when he finally does its a lot of fun.
6. Up the hill
As I live in the flatlands this is a bit difficult to do, but if you have a hill close by you could potentially lunge your horse half part hill and half part flat ground. This will train his “ass” a lot. Be careful not to go to fast as you don’s the horse to slide and fall.
Photo source – Ride magazine
There are also other ways to train your horse on the lunge like Pessoa and double line lunging, but as Mr.Grumpy doesn’t appreciate such tools I decided to take them out of this list, however it might be useful for your horse. If you have any other tips and tricks I could add to the list, feel free to let me know.