Horse gets fast, turns away and bolts on Lunge

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Hannah Kate

New Member
Jun 15, 2017
One of my ex racehorses has always been a pig to lunge. At the minute he needs lunging as he’s in due to bad weather and mudfever. Some days when you least expect it he lunged like a dream. Most days however he gets quick and choppy no matter how much I talk to him and try to steady him he’s off, he’ll drop a shoulder or spin and pull anyone over then bolt around the arena. I’ve had 4 trainers try to lunge him none of which managed it, my father lunged his horse’s for years and lunged at least one horse daily yet he couldn’t manage either.
Pain is no issue as even when on bute and suggested a light lunge by the vet he was still an absolute tit!
He is never lunged with a stick as he is absolutely terrified of one (who knows what happened before I had him) undersaddle he’s a dream! Almost lazy undersaddle, he’s just a super chilled out dude. Until it comes to lunging him, he’s also the same when he’s been out all day it makes no difference whether he’s been in or out.

Tried the following;
2 lines
A stick
Rider on his back while on the lunge
Poles to keep him interested (ended up dangerous)
Side reins
Draw reins (from bit between forelegs and over saddle area)
Someone leading him in hand on the outside of the circle.

None of the above worked, any advice as I’m loosing my mind!


Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
The only thing to do really, as you have tried a lot already, would be go back to square 1 and pretend he is a baby who has no idea how to lunge and re teach every step slowly, getting each one solid before moving on to the next.
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Mary Poppins

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2004
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He sounds like one of the horses that Richard Maxwell has case studied. He has some great videos up on facebook. I know that it may not be practical, but if he really is that bad I would get him to have a look. It sounds to me like he doesn't understand what you are asking him to do.
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Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2008
France, South
Personally speaking I would stop lunging. If he can't bear the lunge whip he's obviously had a bad time with it. I'd try free schooling without the lunge whip. If he won't move around without the whip I'd turn it into a game of kiss and chase!


Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2016
I just wouldn't lunge, it's not essential and a lot of studies report the repetitive circles on a surface can contribute to lameness. Just turn him out in the school? Ride him, doesn't take much longer to ride than lunge. I wouldn't see it as a big issue.
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Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2011
My horse will not lunge, well he has done but it always ends up dangerous, as he will do just what you described your horse to do. I just decided like others have said " not to lunge" plus to be honest I always did deep down did think that going in a repetitive circle could not be good for the joints?