Tips & Tricks

How to Lunge a Horse: Guide for Beginners

lunge a horse

Lunging a horse is an important part of equestrian training, as it helps the horse become accustomed to working with its rider and shows them how to move in response to commands. It can also be used to help a horse learn more complex movements such as lateral work and extended trotting, which are needed for dressage and other advanced equestrian sports.

Lunge a Horse Definition

Lunging a horse is the process of having a horse, usually, in lunge lines, move around in circles or straight lines while the rider stands in one place and gives commands. This allows for controlled practice and repetition of movements without needing to be mounted on the horse. It also helps build confidence between the rider and the horse, creating a stronger bond between them.

How to Get Your Horse to Lunge?

To get your horse ready for lunging, start with shorter sessions and use verbal cues or body language to encourage your horse to move in the desired direction. This will also help him become accustomed to the feel of a lunge line around his neck or chest, as well as develop a rhythm and balance. To maintain control of the horse, you will want to keep your line short but not tight.

Also consider using voice commands such as “walk on,” “trot” or “canter,” and when applicable, incorporate aids such as dressage whips or flags. For example, a whip can be used to encourage quick acceleration, while a flag can be used to keep your horse focused on the task. As you and your horse become familiar with these cues, you will find him responding more quickly and accurately to your commands.

The goal of lunging is for the rider to gain control over their horse’s movements without having to resort to harsh physical corrections. This can be done by rewarding correct behavior with praise or a treat, and gently correcting incorrect behavior. Remember to end the session on a positive note by taking some time to reward your horse for his hard work. 

How to Lunge a Horse Properly?

Here are the basic steps to lunge a horse for beginners:

  1. Start with a well-behaved horse: Before you begin lunging, make sure your horse is well-behaved and comfortable being led around. This will make the process easier and safer for both you and the horse.
  2. Gather your equipment: You will need a lunge line (a long rope) and a lunge whip (a long stick with a string or lash at the end). You may also want to use a halter or bridle to help control your horse.
  3. Find an appropriate space: Choose a large, enclosed area like a round pen or a fenced-in arena. Make sure there are no hazards in the area that could injure your horse.
  4. Attach the lunge line: Attach one end of the lunge line to the horse’s halter or bridle and hold the other end in your hand. Stand facing the horse’s shoulder and keep the line loosely in your hand.
  5. Start walking: Walk forward and encourage the horse to follow you. Gradually increase the distance between you and the horse until you reach the perimeter of the lunge area.
  6. Start lunging: Once you’ve reached the perimeter of the lunge area, you can start lunging the horse. Stand in the center of the lunge area and encourage the horse to move around you in a circle. You can use the lunge whip to gently tap the horse’s hindquarters to encourage movement.
  7. Change directions: After a few laps, change directions and lunge the horse in the opposite direction. This will help to develop both sides of the horse’s body.
  8. Finish up: Once you’ve finished lunging, gradually slow the horse down to a walk and lead the horse back to its stall or pasture.


It’s important to remember that lunging a horse is more than just having the horse move around you in a large circle. Proper lunge training will help your horse develop balance, strength, and coordination while also strengthening the bond between you and your horse. With patience and practice, anyone can learn how to properly lunge their horse. If you’re ever feeling unsure of yourself, be sure to consult a professional riding instructor or trainer. With the right guidance, you can become an expert at lunging your horse in no time!


How long should you lunge a horse for?

How long you lunge your horse for will depend on the individual horse and its training level. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to keep sessions short but frequent (around 15 minutes at a time). As your horse becomes more experienced, you can gradually increase the duration of your lunge sessions.

How many times should you lunge a horse?

When you are just starting out, it is best to do a light lunge session with your horse, and gradually increase the intensity level. Beginner horses should be lunged for no more than 20 minutes at a time, 2-3 times per week.

What should you not do when lunging a horse?

When lunging a horse, it is important to avoid certain practices in order to keep your horse safe and ensure that you are working in the best way possible. Some things to avoid include:
– Yelling or speaking harshly while lungeing
– Pushing your horse too hard, too quickly when introducing them to lunging
– Allowing your horse to become bored or unmotivated while lunging
– Not paying attention to how your horse is reacting and responding to the cues that you are giving them.

Can you lunge your horse every day?

The answer to this question depends on several factors and ultimately is up to the discretion of the rider. Generally, it is not recommended that a horse be lunged every day due to the amount of strain placed on joints and ligaments.

Can you lunge a horse in the rain?

Lungeing involves making the horse move in large circles around you, and this can be dangerous if your field conditions are wet, slippery, or deep. Wearing slick gloves on a wet surface increases the risk of slipping, which could cause injury to both yourself and your horse.

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