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Structure and length of a training session on the lunge

1. How long should a training session last?

The duration of a lunging sequence depends on various factors, such as age and training condition of the horse. For a young horse, 15 minutes is enough. Horses that had a longer break from training, should mainly walk during a short session, until it’s time to increase intensity and duration.
For horses that are 3 years old or older, 30 minutes can be a rough guideline.

However, the actual workout time can be longer. Any additional time can be used for massaging, appropriate stretching or quality time (scratching the horse at its favorite spot, walking together).

Exemplary lunging sequence:

  • 10-15 minutes warm up  at a leisurely pace (e.g. leading in position, lateral movements, “trolking”, slowly walking and trotting of riding figures in close proximity)
  • 5 minutes massage/wellness/stretching/relationship care
  • 5-10 minutes energetic forwards with active hindquarters, trot-canter transitions, shifting circles, whole track with increased lunging distance, extending the movement on the rail. Focus: having fun with running, waking up
  • 5 minutes massage/wellness/stretching/relationship care
  • 5-10 minutes gymnastic exercises: leading lateral movements/lunging lateral movements  for advanced horses, alternating with slalom, voltes. Focus: bending and load bearing of the hindquarters
  • 5 minutes activation of hindquarters, canter
  • 5-10 minute cool-down at a leisurely pace, stretching, massage

In this example, you and your horse would be in the arena with the horse for 45-50 minutes. The actual training duration would be about 30-35 minutes. Move only 15 minutes at a faster pace, the rest in a calm manner.

Pepe lunging

2. How often should you work on the lunge?

My motto is:“Muscles grow on rest days”. Avoid training hard on two consecutive days. Lunging every day can be mentally and physically tiring for your horse. Use the in-between days for different activities such as riding, walking, groundwork to improve communication, free jumping or clickertraining.

If your horse has already developed healthy movement patterns on the lunge and is in good physical condition, you don’t “have” to lunge. Nevertheless, I recommend lunging at least once a week, even for well-trained horses, to maintain important muscles and keep your horse fit. Proper lunging provides variety and helps to loosen up your horse if necessary.

Otherwise, the following applies: you can lunge as often as you and your horse enjoy it and as long as it doesn’t harm your horse.

Do you have any questions?


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