What’s that? Explaining lunge lines
(also known as longe lines, depending upon your sense of phonetic spelling)
If you grew up riding in the English style, you are probably familiar with the lunge line, but if you came to horses through trail riding or Western disciplines, it may be something of a foreign concept.
Lunging sends horses in a circle around their handler, who holds the excess line and sometimes a lunge whip. The whip does not typically touch the horse, but is carried in the right hand, trailing behind the horse to create noise that lets the horse know he needs to keep moving.
Lunging horses has lots of different applications; it can be a controlled setting to work a horse lightly back from an injury, or provide a chance for someone on the ground to watch a horse at work to look for lameness. Lunging is also a way of letting a horse blow off some steam before beginning a ride, and it can also be a good way to help a horse build condition or muscle (especially if you’re also using side reins or other equipment). We’ve also found it a good way to teach horses voice commands, which can transfer nicely to other groundwork or riding.
Many English riders also begin their riding instruction riding a lunged horse, because it enables them to focus on their legs and position before they need to worry about also directing the horse around the arena.
No matter how you use lunging, there are a few important things to remember. If you’re lunging for more than a couple of minutes, it’s considered good practice to send the horse in both directions before finishing up for the day. That’s because turning in a circle unevenly stretches and loads the two sides of a horse’s body. It’s also important not to lunge too often or for too long at a time to avoid stress-related injury. Another good way to avoid putting too much strain on the horse is to avoid making the circle he travels in too small. Circles measuring 20-30 meters in diameter are considered a good size.
While lunging your horse, don’t wrap the line around your hand. If the horse should spook, you’ll end up losing some skin on your palms. Instead, loop excess line and grab the loop around the center.
Two Horse Tack offers all the equipment you need to get your horse lunging. Our lunge lines come in lengths from 10 to 40 feet in your choice of 14 colors. Our lunging cavesson includes hardware sewn into the noseband, giving you all kinds of options for line placement. Cavessons are available in sizes mini to draft, in matching colors to our lines.