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The Correct Way of Lunging & Work In Hand


by Trainer, Harry Chaim Faibish



1.THE EQUIPMENT FOR LUNGING THE HORSE. A. good quality soft cavesson with 3 rings. B.Lunging roller with 4 rings on each side. C.Long side reins with buckles to be long enaugh for big horses up to 18HH, without rubber rings or elastics. D.Long lunging wipe. E.Good quality soft lunging rein 10m long, not less.

2.THE EQUIPMENT FOR WORK IN HAND FROM THE GROUND. A.Long wipe longer then the dressage wipe to reach all length of the horse.

THE PURPORSE OF LUNGING ARE TO STRAIGHTEN THE HORSE. If the lessons are done correctly the horse will develop correct mussels,tendons,and can correct also his behaviour if there is a need, and this will give the possibility to develop the horse equally all over,and just now the horse will be able to reach full collection and cadence.

LUNGING,is a most important tool for horses with problems. It is excellent for young,3-years-old horses, those who have poor conformation or a poor temperament, for developing the correct muscles and balance. It also helps horses who are not brave or who are not forward going. If we do not want to ride the horse, or if we cannot ride him for any reason, then we can lunge him in side reins or without them. This depends on the level at which the horse is working working and what problems there are.






                     Silver 3.5y old on the lunge                               Silver the first trot, he was higher in the hindquarters

                                                                                              and because of this the hind legs couldn't come in.



              I am correcting the problem of the trot                      Silver leg yielding left, supplying the hindquarters



If we want to give a horse a long holiday, it is good to lunge him in walk and trot during this time, for about twenty minutes, no more, a few times a week to maintain fitness and suppleness. If he wants to canter we can let him do so for a short period of time. If he wants to canter longer, we can allow him to do so but bring him back to trot if he misbehaves. Then, after one circle he may canter again, to show him that he has to listen to us. Let him canter on both reins. Now we can lengthen the side reins even if the the horse is able to have them longer; we must not forget that the horse is on holiday and we are not lunging him for training but for relaxation and to keep him supple and fit, no more.


Careful lunging can also be used when a horse has had an injury or lameness, but here we need to have a lot of experience to be able to give the horse the help that he needs. For this kind of lunging the trainer must have special knowledge. He or she must be able to master the skill of lunging, otherwise it will do the horse no good and could easily hurt him. for this kind of lunging the trainer must choose the right walk and the trot to help the horse's particular problem, and later on when the horse is ready he can do canter as well. In the beginning one round or less to see what the horse tells us, and to see if the canter is suitable for the horse's problem, and after the canter to bring the horse to trot for some massage for few rounds, and after that walk for rest.



                Malby's legs from hard work                                                                       Malby happy and relax









                     Malby shoulder-in, in walk                                                    Maltby turn on four hands



All the Grand Prix exercises stem from the basic, and lunging is part of the basic foundation. Without this,the horse would be unable to progress to advanced education and movements, like Piaffe, Passage and all the rest of the advanced exercises, and also the exercises above the ground- Levade, Courbette, Balloted, and so on. Without initial lunging we shall not be able to do them. If the horse is working correctly on the lunge, he will be able to be supple, balanced and in full cadence-he has to look as if he is not touching the ground, as if he is dancing. All this qualities help him to be light on his feet. After this he can learn, and carry out, work in hand from the ground, and lateral exercises. We shall also be able to include these exercises in redden work, and after this we shall be able to do Long-Reining as well, if we wish, although we do not have to do so. We can ride the horse without lunging or work in hand from the ground, but he will not be as supple without the lunging work and work in hand from the ground. As a result, the horse could suffer all his life.





    Magic Count Arab Stallion spanish walk                                Magic Count, turn on four hands & turn on hind legs

                                                                                            at same time




             Chestnut Boy colected trot out of rein back                             Chestnut Boy leg yielding right in walk




The only way to have a sound and happy horse with the right foundation and correct musculature is if he has been worked properly on the lunge until he can master it in Walk, Trot, and Cater, For this, the trainer must be able to understand, and be able to see, the correct way of going because each horse works different and has different problems and conformation. If we do not understand this, all the work we put into the horse is for nothing. Not only are we wasting our time but also we are not helping the horse.

  In practice, we can harm the horse physically by working him in the wrong balance, the wrong rhythm, working him too fast or to slow, working with side reins too short or adjusted too high, having the lunging rein too short, or by working the horse for too long when he is not fit.
  The equipment for lunging should preferably be made of leather, or soft materials, clean and soft. It is most important to have buckles and not rubber on the side reins as the latter teaches the horse to pull on the reins and there is a danger that he will start to throw his head up and down, and will not keep his head quiet whilst we are riding him later on.
  The lunging rein must be 10 meters long, otherwise the horse can suffer from too much strain on his joints or spine and he may become lame, or he may suffer mentally because of the pressure he is under to maintain too small a circle, and stop giving his best.

He will dislike the trainer or the rider, not respecting them at all.

  To make the horse work correctly on the lunge, it is very important not to have the side reins tight, and the same with the height adjustment, which depends on the level the horse is at-low for a novice horse, higher as he becomes advanced. We need to activate the hind legs to lift and push the body forward, for the hind legs to become under his belly, but we must not push him beyond his ability. This will make him sore, and he will not be able to become supple. We must see that the back is supple, and swings, and as a result the back will be able to come up, and the hind legs will come further under the horse. He will be able to hold his neck correctly and round his body correctly, accepting the bit. To be able to reach this stage, all the joints must work correctly, the horse's legs must work absolutely equally in Walk, Trot, and Canter, and with the correct rhythm, impulsion and balance; this will bring him to correct cadence.
  In short, the horse has to look as if is dancing, and light on his feet, and this will put a smile on his face because he is doing the work without effort. In that way he will never be lame, and he will look as though he is playing in the field. He has to look natural.
  Correct lunging is the best and most important help that any horse, in any discipline, even racing, can receive, to help him to remain sound and happy for the rest of his life.



LUNGEING is most important for both beginners and advanced riders. It is used to teach a young or novice pupil how to sit correctly, to correct riders who have been taught to ride incorrectly, and to help stiff riders to loosen up and relax. Any riding school has to have a LUNGING HORSE, this horse must be able to do collected and extended Trot, and Lateral exercises from the ground to give the pupil the correct feel of the movements. Lunging helps riders to develope correct muscles, suppleness, relaxation and gives confidence,and in the end he will have good balance. When the pupil finishes his education on the lunge, knows to what to expect, and how to handle the body. Such a horse is a big asset to any establishment, because this horse keeps all the rest of the horses sound and happy. (The lunging horse in my opinion can do 3 lessons per day no more, but not in the beginning, first he has to get strong and comfortable with the job, one lesson in the morning, afternoon, and evening, which lesson half an hour no more, and before that about ten minutes worming up will be enaugh, he needs the time to relax between the lessons this is very inportant to keep him fresh and sound)It is very important for the teacher to be able to do it by himself; just such a teacher has the tools to help young riders, or those with various problems. When the pupils learns how to seat correctly, both bodies--his and the horse's will become as one.





      Me on the lunge in canter with out stirrups                                         On the lunge in trot with out stirrups



More at: faibishclassicaltrainer.com


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