International Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Joanna Fisher shares her thoughts on……would it be beneficial to lunge my pony?
“I often get asked would it be helpful if my clients lunge or long rein their ponies and the simple answer to this is yes!
There are several reasons why this helps and I shall go on to explain it.
Firstly when you are lunging your horse or pony it gives you a good chance to watch them carefully and closely to see how they are moving and spot any issues that they might be having.
It’s very difficult to see everything when you’re riding especially if you don’t have mirrors or eyes on the ground. Another excellent reason for lunging is it helps make a connection with your pony or horse that will help you when you’re sitting on them, for example when you are lunging you are mainly using your voice as an aid and as I have explained many times The Voice is a free aid and an excellent tool when you are riding. When your horse or pony is on the lunge I do like to lunge in side reins- it helps with the outline and it also helps with bend and consistency in the contact.
I think lunging also benefits the horse’s balance and rhythm and engagement providing you lunge on a large enough circle, the minimum I would ever lunge on is 15m.
I think working and lunging on a 20m circle if possible is the best way forward. I have seen young horses improve rapidly when worked on the lunge for a few days, especially if they are unbalanced in canter- then a few days lunging seems to dramatically help them!
It is very important to remember to keep your circle as large as possible, to break up the lunge with transitions using your voice – which will help you when you sit on – and to change the rein often.
Don’t forget a horse only has so many circles in it …so lunging is Best Kept to the minimum and Best Kept to the shortest time possible, make every circle you do count!”
Joanna has written a collection of children’s books based on her horses over the years.
It has been published by award winning Candy Jar books and currently available in Waterstones and being read in schools. Click here to link to her website: www.stablegossip.com. She also has a dressage website which can be found at http://www.joannafisherdressage.com/
For more advice from Joanna, why not visit her other blog posts here:
Do I need a dressage saddle to do dressage
How Can I make my Pony Stop Leaning on me?
Help My Dressage Circles are oval
What Age should I teach my horse flying changes?
How to turn a leg yield into a half pass
How can I teach my horse shoulder in?
How should I prepare for a dressage test?
Should I do Sitting Trot in My Dressage Test?
Swinging Quarters Are Ruining My Dressage Halt!