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Many horses are naturally spirited, especially in their youth. Even older, well trained show horses have extra energy that builds up through the day. So how do you, as a rider, make sure this energy doesn’t escape while you're on the horse’s back? Well typically the process used is called lunging. Lunging entails taking a thirty foot rope and attaching it to a lunge cavesson, a device that attaches the rop to the bridge of the horse's nose. Lunge lines should not be attached to the horse's bridle or halter as possible severe neck injuries could occur. After which a long lunge whip is used to entice the horse to circle around you.

A few key points: You do not move with the rope, you stay in one spot and turn with the horse, but do not go forward, or back at any point in time. Use voice commands, such as walk, trot, canter, halt. These commands then can be used when your on the horse’s back. The whip should not be used systematically the hit the horse. Instead, crack the whip down behind the horses back feet. If the horse stops, or comes at you, then feel free to shake the whip, allowing it to touch the horses butt.

The average lunging time is approximately thirty minutes. A horse should never be lunged for less than ten minutes, or more than forty-five minutes. When do you lunge? If you are lunging at a show before your class, lunge at least two hours before your class, then hose the horse and allow him to rest. If you lunge the horse regularly before you ride, you can get on right after lunging.

Some barns advocate lunging every horse before every ride. This is not always the best strategy. A tired horse can’t perform as well as a fresher horse, and why boggle their minds with such a boring task? Young horses are often consistently lunged before every ride. If this is done, then it will typically become necessary, and not just optional.

In certain circumstances, such as when a young child, or inexperienced rider is riding a horse, lunging is necessary. However, typically it should be saved for shows.

Make sure to lunge a horse in both directions, not only to the left. Also make sure to spend equal time on all gates. Allow the horse to canter on the wrong lead if they desire, I have often made breakthroughs on teaching horses their leads by forcing them to realize it on the lunge-line. Remember, turn-outs are a nice alternative for lunging, it allows the horse to play, eat, and get those annoying bucks out before you ride.