Is single line lunging cruel?

Discussion in 'Natural Horsemanship' started by chikakane, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. chikakane

    chikakane New Member

    Saw Monty Roberts on Saturday night at Towerlands and it was incredible, however, towards the end he said 'Single line lunging is the second most cruel thing you can do to a horse'. I've never heard this before, and he didn't expand on why it was particularly cruel.

    I've always found, as a rider, that lunging was really useful but I'll never do it again if I think for a moment it's causing distress or pain to the horse. Can anyone explain why it's cruel? I don't want to kick off a massive argument, I'm just curious!
  2. emlybob

    emlybob New Member

    I don't think its cruel in the slightest. It can be extremley beneficial to a lot of horses. Would be interested to know why he said this. If u read my post re his demo then you will see that i don't have much good to say about him anyway
  3. KateWooten

    KateWooten New Member

    I think single-line lunging is the most cruel thing you can do to a poor poor money grabbing clinician. You need no more equipment than a piece of string ... and another piece of string .. you don't need to buy an 'i don't make no profit off these you get them at cost' $3000 Monty Roberts roundpen and a $100 MR funky headcollar thingy ... anyone can do it, it's easy, simple, you can take it anywhere ... Have a heart .. Poor Monty - how's he going to buy himself an even bigger ranch if you all cotton on the fact that none of his stuff is new.. and you don't actually need to give him a large amount of money to do any of it ?

    :D Single line lunging is fine - as part of your workout with your horse - as long as you have an idea in mind of what you're achieving and why - as long as it's fun for both parties - as long as your entirely focussed on your horse's physical and mental attitude while he does it.
  4. cvb

    cvb Cucumber


    he may mean this.

    That when you lunge with a single line - with pressure down the line - you are pulling the horse's nose in to the centre and out of line with their body.

    i.e. done badly (like an awful lot of things) it does harm.

    Whereas if you lunge with two lines, you can balance the horse better. BUT you need the skill and confidence to handle two lines well.

    Lunging is a skill, an art of you like.

    If you apply Natural Horsemanship (specifically PNH) type ideas to lunging, then whenever you work with a line, you are looking for the horse to give to the pressure and hence put some slack in the line. Then there is very little pressure on the horse unless they decide to vary direction or speed.

    But traditionally we are taught to keep some tension in the line - and if this is over done, we are pulling the horse *in* with one hand (on the line) and pushing them *out* with the whip hand. This makes the "unstraightness" even worse :eek:
  5. martini55

    martini55 New Member

    I wouldn't say it was cruel. I am sure Monty Roberts and his followers are very against lunging with a single line and much prefer long-reining. I think it has to do with the stress lunging can put on a horse, though there is probably much more to it. I am sure I read a thread a while ago in the Natural Horsemanship forum that discussed this topic. Perhaps do a search and see what comes up?
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2006
  6. emlybob

    emlybob New Member

    Katewooten i loved your reply it made me chuckle!!
  7. Afellpony

    Afellpony New Member

    I was taught to lunge by an cavalary man and he always told me to keep a little slack in the line.
  8. cvb

    cvb Cucumber

    Yeah - give that man (who taught you ) a medal ! I picked up bits and pieces from here there and everywhere and seem to have worked out something that works :)

    I guess I had a good teacher - my 14.2 cob who had no brakes, and is still with me at 34. If you didn't do it "right" with him, he made sure you knew about ! :D
  9. Skib

    Skib New Member

    Monty Roberts has always maintained that single line lunging is not a good idea. You will find detailed answers if you ask on the Intelligent Horsemanship website.

    Roberts' followers and Kelly Marks RAs use long reining as a substitute for lunging. But when they convince their clients to do the same many things get ignored.

    1. There is a cultural divide. Roberts and other USA horsemen have the use of a round pen in which the horse circles free of any rope. But circles none the less.

    2. One of his arguments against single line lunging is that the horse learns to run round with its head poking out one way - but it all depends on how well the lunging is done. Correct lunging in a good cavesson as practised in classical dressage to train both horse and rider does not have this affect.

    3. The arguments create the idea that people do one or the other, lunge or long rein. That's not true either. Some trainers, including my own, do both. But they are used for different things. So I became more open minded and learned both.

    4. American trainers in general including Roberts or Mark Rashid do not like the UK habit of lunging a horse before it is ridden to work off some of its energy. You can imagine that going round and round as if on a treadmill is not kind to any horse, but whether the horse circles on one or two lines wont be relevant.
  10. Yann

    Yann Guest

    The objection is principally about the unnatural strain a lot of lunging puts on the horse's frame. Horses, especially smaller ones will often tip their nose out to counter the weight and tension on the single line,especially with a relatively heavy lunging cavesson on.

    Circling on two lines doesn't have this effect any more than riding a circle does. Like like anything else if single line lunging is done correctly and in moderation it's hardly going to be a big issue. Most (IH) people aren't particularly pedantic about it, I was shown a version of single line lunging similar to the one CVB describes at an RA clinic and have used it myself.

    Katewooten, I don't think Monty is going to buy many ranches on the strength of people going out and buying a second lunge line, do you? ;)
  11. Herbie's mummy

    Herbie's mummy **SOPH**

    Lunging is fine, if done properly:)
  12. india

    india Banned

    There's no way single line lungeing can be classed as cruel if done correctly and in moderation.

    Pity the same can't be said of some of the gadgets Monty uses.:rolleyes:
  13. julia gulia

    julia gulia New Member

    I must say that I have trouble understanding the aggression towards Monty Robers and his so called Gadgets:confused: He is not one of the trainers that I "follow" but so what if he develops something that can help many people in the training of their horses? Kudos galore to people who don't believe that they need these gadgets but to some people they are useful and help their horse. If he "gave " these things away would you be happy? Live and let live .In my opinion, Just because one disagrees with a certain principal does not give one the right to degrade it and personally attack the person who created it. A technique is only as good as the person implementing it . I've seen many a person single line lunging and it has made me cringe. So in my opinion, if he has developed something that he considers a little more "fool proof" then the being who will benefit the most from it is the horse. Now, what is wrong with that? If you don't like what he has to say? Don't listen and do whatever you want to do:)
  14. Kate F.

    Kate F. New Member

    Spot on, Skib!!!:) I can well see there are pros and cons to lunging, like anything else, and a lot depends on how well it is done and in what context. Well done and appropriately used - very useful. Poorly done, not helpful and possibly counter productive, but to call it cruel? I really can't see how, unless it is done to extremes, but then the same would apply to the round pen, double lunging or and other exercise as anything done to excess and the point of exhaustion would be equally cruel. Can't really see why one line is cruel, but 2 aren't! :p
  15. Susara

    Susara New Member

    I think these really experienced riders sometimes forget that some things may be better in an ideal world, but not all of us have the skills to do things perfectly. Of course your horse should be well-mannered enough that exceess energy doesn't turn it dangerous. Of course your seat should be stable enough that you don't get thrown easily by an exited buck.

    But what do you do if you are not good enough yet to handle these situations safely? Isn't it better for a nervous rider to longe her hotty a bit to settle him, than to put a severe bit in his mouth? Or to decide never venture outisde the arena? In another thread last week someone said she doesn't even trot her horse anymore because of fear.

    Before I knew my newly backed horse well I'd always longe him a bit before getting on; it settled his concentration and allowed me to judge his mood.

    The same holds for people that consider martingales evil; of course you should fix the fundamental problem why your horse is throwing his head. But if you're not good enough to handle dangerous head-throwing I'd say use the martingale in potentially dangerous situations **while you are working at solving the fundamental problem**.

    I fully realise that these things should be temporary sollutions while you are working on both yourself and your horse. But one shouldn't denounce it just out of principle.
  16. Lili & Morgan

    Lili & Morgan New Member

    Spot on Susara! I cannot agree with you more!! US horsemanship is diiferent from the Bristish to the continental. Why because of our climate, economical, and living conditions :rolleyes:

    Kate : I love your post ( I am Muriel/Linda Baia)

    Lunging with the nose tipping inside is WRONG!. I have also seen so many horses cantering with their head poking to the outside in around pen.

    That is why I agree with Kate. trainer trying to sell more gadget.
  17. Skib

    Skib New Member

    I hope I didnt mislead you on that. QAs far as Rashid goes both a lunge line and long reining have a place in backing and training a horse. If you read his books you will see that the rider's safety is paramount. Though being in the USA he has access to a round pen which many of his clients here in the UK dont.

    BUT and it is a big but. Rashid's point is that in the USA he can leave his horses unridden all winter and when Spring comes load them and take them off to use in a demo. And they emerge from the trailer ready to ride.

    That is very different from the regime in some UK livery yards. I visted one local yard and was told that clients' horses were always lunged before hacking, on safety grounds. And if I kept a horse there, they would insist on it for my own safety, of course.

    This is a mystery that interests me. Because surely it must be related to what we feed our horses here in the UK?
  18. Wally

    Wally Well-Known Member

    If I single lunge, which is not often the LAST thing I want is for there to be pressure on the lunge and the horse pilling against it, all you do is make the horse fight and become unbalanced.

    I tend to use a single line asa sort of long lead you see dogs being walked on. If the pony doesn't come back to me I can put a bit of pressure on the lunge and ask him to come to me, almost like round penning without the pen.

    I long line far more, but lungeing is only cruel if done without care and attention to detail.

    One of my pet hates if folk who run a horse round and round on a lunge before they ride it!
  19. Yann

    Yann Guest

    That's quite possibly part of it if people are religiously following the BHS feeding guide to the letter, the quantities of hard feed suggested even for a horse in medium work seem enormous for most horses I've dealt with. The other thing, and I may stand to be corrected on this, but I don't think it's as common for horses to be kept stabled 18 to 24 hours a day in North America either, my impression is ample turnout is more often the norm.

    An easy target for the 'enlightened' ;) Whilst you may not like everything he does, how many people have found a way through to natural horsemanship because of him?
  20. nicolaj

    nicolaj New Member

    I was talking to the IH RA that came out to me and my horse back in July and we did discuss lunging. Interestingly, she didn't shout it down as the 'work of the devil' and did appreciate it had a use. Such as for riders having lunge lessons to improve their seat.

    What she didn't approve of and we have all seen people doing it, are those that put their horse on the lunge and make it canter round in circles for ages. This just gets the horse fitter than the rider and so they need to do it for five more minutes every time! Then of course you have all the arguments of the strain it puts on the legs/tendons and also a heavy lunge cavesson tends to cause the horses head to lean to the inside.

    If lunging is done properly, such as to help teach the horse transitions without the weight of a rider, to accept the contact of the bit with use of side reins and to learn how to carry themselves and develop the correct muscle then it's not a problem. But again only short bursts, is it 20 mins of lunging is the equivalent to 1 hours riding?

    There is a lot of confusion, my RI suggests moving round the school with the horse and use the long sides, which I suppose for more advanced horses if you want to teach extension probably helps, whilsts others say I should stand still in the middle and just length out the line and the horse circles round me. This method however, sends me dizzy!:p

    Like everything done with a horse it is an art form, both long-lining, lunging and lunging with two lines. It is amazing the amount of people who don't know how to lunge, (I include myself in that :eek: , but have sought help from my RI and had some lessons).

Share This Page