Does Lunging Really Help?
Lunging before you ride is another option and probably the most popular, however, what we want to avoid is over lunging. We want to lunge the horse in a way that helps him warm-up, not to wear him out. A tired horse cannot learn. Letting him hoon around on the lunge to get rid of any excess energy when he’s fresh is fine now and then but sometimes this can lead to lunging every time we ride, and rather than the bucking disappearing, he simply gets fitter and fitter, with even more energy for bucking. What we ideally want is to change our mindset, and that of our horse, so that lunging is part of his work routine and teach him to channel his energy into something other than bucking. This might be lots of transitions, spiraling the circles down, spiraling back out, going over poles
, not just around and around in endless circles. Expect him to behave on the lunge as you want him to under saddle, so that you can go into the round yard or arena, ask him to walk on the lunge and he waits for you to let him know he can trot and canter, exactly as you would if you were in the saddle. Racing off and him deciding the tempo isn’t what we want under saddle, nor is it on the lunge. This not only means he will start to learn that bucking is not an option but also prevent injuries from zooming around wildly on the lunge and also means you can lunge him for shorter and shorter periods before getting on, until you don’t have to lunge before every ride.