View Full Version : Lunging question
2nd Jul 2004, 11:20 AM
Quick background - I had a dressage lesson on Tues and my horse would not canter calmly whilst practicing the test (had been doing so beautifully in warm up) and we came to the conclusion that he just gets excited. So instructor suggested lunging him with the idea being that he gets used to it and realises that cantering is no big deal. I rarely lunge him to be fair so I set about it last night.
What I noticed last night (and I dont know whether this is usual and its why I am asking) is that in canter he had the lunge line out at almost full stretch (save for me holding the end in the other hand) but was really pulling on it. I really had to stand my ground in order not to be pulled towards him.
Is this normal or a sign that he is struggling to balance himself on this size of circle? Not sure what the size was - how long is a lunge line?
Anyway, despite this he cantered calmly and then I went inside and rode the canter parts of the test a few times and again, very calm. His canter is normally calmish. he can get a little onward bound but is never out of control like he was in my lesson the other night but this could have been a result of him just having his back done?
Any other opinions helpful!
2nd Jul 2004, 01:20 PM
If he was leaning hard, but not hyper/excited, that does sound like he might have been leaning on you for balance. It's similar to the horse being heavy in your hands while riding. Rather than carrying himself, he's flopping along on the forehand, bracing against something handy to stay balanced. If you're going to be repeating the same exercise in the future, it may be a good idea to use side reins to give him a little contact, and ask him to carry himself. After all the whole idea of the exercise was to convince him to go nicely in canter in that circle, right?
I wonder if he was acting up during the test because of something you changed? Was there something in the lesson that you were finding difficult? Perhaps you were trying really hard and had gotten a little tense.
Lunge lines do some in different lengths. When I have space, I usually start lunge canter circles as large as possible; I'll walk a noticeable circle, following the horse, rather than making her stay at the same fixed distance from me. If she has enough pull on the lunge line to keep her in the circle, but NOT enough to lean on, she will have to carry herself :) at which point she could balance more easily on a smaller circle. So it would be easier to shorten the lunge line.
2nd Jul 2004, 02:01 PM
Slack in the line is ideal. Not so much float that all communication is lost but not tight either that he's leaning and making it difficult for you.
I walk the circle IF my horse is having trouble balancing. Otherwise, I tend to stay stationary, pivoting on one leg. I think it gives them a reference point. Everyone has their opinons on this... I do a bit of "stay and walk along".
Just as if you were riding, half halt on the lunge line to encourage him to stop leaning and rushing. It has happened a few times that Bon leans and ignores the half halts so Im forced to completely drop the contact. The first time I ever did this, he almost fell flat on his face. That goes to show that leaning = forehand! ;)
2nd Jul 2004, 02:03 PM
My instructor did say to do it with side reins but I dont have any:rolleyes: .
Perhaps you were trying really hard and had gotten a little tense.
Do you know I think I have come to the conclusion as I was driving him home last night that that is they EXACT cause of ANY of our problems, that and me making adjustments too quick and rushing him. As I said we had been happily cantering around nice and relaxed and the first part of the canter was fine but then theres a bit where you canter diagonally across the school and I didnt prepare him well enough and also tried to get too deep into the corner and really unbalanced him instead of keeping things smooth. The next time he was faster. Then I got him calm again but coming across the diagonal my instructor was stood in the middle and I didnt know which side to pass her on and made a last minute decision resulting in him panicking again and going faster.
I'm beginning to realise that he is a worrier at heart and if he loses his balance he worries.
2nd Jul 2004, 02:08 PM
Well the proof of the pudding will be on Sunday when we do 2 lots of dressage tests.
Wish me luck!
3rd Jul 2004, 12:43 PM
3rd Jul 2004, 01:05 PM
3rd Jul 2004, 01:55 PM
Yes I am still chasing that elusive 60%! Our last but one score was 57.5% but dropped down to 53% in the last one because his back was out.
It will be the first time I have done a test at this place tomorrow. Its a good school with nice indoor arena so no chance of the usual potholes and slippery ground our other place offers!
We are doing prelim 7 & 10 both of which I've done before so it should be good to compare. I've never done 2 tests before though and I am a little if not alot worried about getting them mixed up especially as they are only 20 minutes apart. I will have to borrow someone to call them for me I think!
3rd Jul 2004, 02:36 PM
I missed this last time around, oops :)
Interesting about the losing balance/worrying. Sounds like a good thing to keep in mind while you're riding :)
Good luck on your two tests. I know I'd never be able to keep two different tests separate (grin) hope you can find a caller.
3rd Jul 2004, 04:14 PM
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