It is a sad truth that some folks still feel that you can lunge the energy out of a horse but does lunging have any place in gymnastic training? The answer, as so often, is that it depends on how it is done.
There are very few days when I just get on and ride away, probably only when I am off out on a hack, but not because I want to lose energy rather that I want to warm up the body.
In warming up the muscles we also start to release the tension in the mind and in return this allows the body to release more tension and so it continues.
All horses are not the same, some rush when tense and others are almost turned off when tense; don’t assume your horse is ‘lazy’ because he doesn’t come into the school with a ‘let’s get on with it’ attitude! Like us there is a whole spectrum of attitude- our job as trainer is to work out a strategy to suit.
Chapiro can be brick-like in terms of flexibility when he is tense but using neck softening, in-hand work and lunging I can focus his mind and warm up his muscles. With him it is a slow build up, he doesn’t catch fire easily but once warm he is delightfully responsive and flexible.
Here is just a brief glimpse (and very poor video quality apologies) of Chapiro getting warm before riding. Next time I’ll describe the process in more detail.