The last weeks my horse and I practices a lot so that today we really have a great base for the lunge training. I do not have any problems with my own coordination anymore and when I guide my horse it is no problem that he is in the right bended position.
Lunge a horse – Lunge training – Field report
I can see a great progress if Granat begins to trot. He does not become faster but stays in a slow trot just right next to me. He keeps the bended position what means that his head and nose are on a low level.
We practiced the lunge training once or twice a week but nevertheless I could see progress quite quickly. The most important thing is that the horse understands and remembers the way he walks correctly. Then it is easy to train more difficult training units.
Additionally it is very helpful to read the internet side from Babette Teschen. There other people write about their experiences and their faults so that I could see if I do the same ones. Due to this it may really help if the rider films himself during the training unit because the video points out the mistakes.
Posture of the rider while lunging a horse
I had to learn that it is important that the rider turns his upper part of the body towards
the direction of the horses´ movement. If you do so the horse gets into the bended position and you can lunge him correctly.
Turn your shoulders into the direction of the horses ‘movement and open your view because if you do so your movements become more regularly and fluently. The horse adapts this rhythm and you become a great team. I still have to remind myself about this correct position of my body so that I still have to work on myself.
Sideways position – step over
The head of the horse is turned so that his forehead faces the tummy of the rider. If the horse has this position he easily begins to step over. The rider has to watch out that he does not become too slowly- the rider always has to stand next to the horses´ head.
For the next step we practiced the step over. The horse keeps on moving but turns this forehead towards the tummy of the rider. The rider still keeps on guiding the horse straight forward. The horse automatically begins to step over with his hind legs.
But this is just the theory and at the beginning it did not work out at all. Granat did not turn his forehead towards my tummy and just kept on walking. Through this he avoided to step over with his hind legs.
Then I got a tip. If you look at a horse it often turns away. Due to this it helped if I looked straight on his hind legs because then he began to turn them away. Trough this his whole body still went in the same direction but his hind legs stepped over. I have to watch out that I still stand next to the horses´ head. But after some practice this also worked out well.
Last time we practiced this training unit Granat really understood what I wanted and he
began automatically step over with his hind legs. Again this time I just looked insistently on his hind legs and this caused that his hind legs became pushed away and he began to step over in a sideways movement.
Automatically I also began to cross my legs so that we both walked in a sideways movement. This influences him a lot so that Granat executed the training unit very well.
Watch out if you want your horse to step over: sometimes Granat did not step over but crossed his legs. This is a different training unit which I did not want to practice. If a horse steps over his hind legs step over his balance point so that they nearly reach the front legs. Due to this the horse also has to lift his shoulder. In opposite to this a horse only influences his hind legs if he crosses his legs.
How to lunge a horse
Through all these disciplines (guiding your right positioned horse, your horse slowly begins to trot, step over) it becomes easier to lunge your horse correctly. After some time I am really hopeful now that we will approach our aims.
Due to all the success I can now begin to go on distance to my horse. This means that I do not stand right next to him any longer. Now the training unit is real lunging and Granat does this really well.
At first I increase the length of the lunge only a little what means about 1,5 meters. When he begins to trot I still trot next to him but this time the distance between us two is bigger. Still I always remind myself that the upper part of my body has to be positioned in the direction of the movement. Generally the rider always stands on the same level as the head of the horse. If I did so Granat often slowed down so that I prefer a position which is a little more behind the horses´ head.
It is important that the speed of the horse and the bended position is not dependant on the
distance between the rider and the horse. If the rider notices that the horse becomes faster or loses the right position of its body the rider must change the situation of the training. The whole training unit can be really exhausting for the horse due to the new movements. When the horse becomes tired and stops to walk properly the rider must react.
In this case the rider can change the direction of the lunging or he must finish the training unit. Granat often pushed a little against the lunge. This pushing can be compared with the pressure the rider feels on the reins if he rides a horse. I know that we have to work on this because due to the lunge training the horse keeps its bended position and runs properly in a circle even if the lunge is not totally tight. The horse must totally adapt to the new movements so that it does them on his own. Referring to this the rider must always be sure about the right position of the horse and if he loses this the rider must start to rework the bended position.
This video shows you an extract of a training unit. Here Granat and I practice the step over.
During the next weeks Granat and I will go on practising. Hopefully in the next field report I can write somethings about our first gallop.
- Practical Lunging – Field Report No 1
- Practical Lunging – Field Report No 2
- A recipe for success: Praising your horse
- The importance of the right communication between horse and rider- how to understand the body language of the horse
- Get past the fear: training units that help horses to overcome their anxieties- Part 1