How to Lunge a Horse Like a Pro

how to lunge a horseKnowing how to lunge a horse is a necessary equestrian skill. Not only does this set the foundation for horseriding but teaches the horse obedience.

Not to mention, it’s great exercise for your horse.

However, not knowing how to lunge a horse or where to start can be overwhelming. You don’t want to use bad form and risk injury.

Don’t worry. This training guide will help you out with that.

Read on to learn how to lunge!

Why Do You Need to Know How to Lunge a Horse?

We mentioned earlier that lunging is the basis for horseriding. But there’s more to it. If a horse didn’t know how to lunge and you tried to ride the horse, chances are, you’d fall off.


Because horses naturally lean in very steeply when turning without a rider. Not learning the lunging technique will cause the horse to do what comes naturally. Which means you’d risk injuring yourself. Not to mention, your horse.

What You Need

In learning how to lunge, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Lunge whip
  • Lunge line (preferably 30-35 feet long)
  • Gloves (so if the horse pulls the line, your hands won’t get cut up)
  • Closed-toe shoes (exposed feet risk injury)
  • Round pen
  • Horse that’s willing to learn
  • Strong voice and calm demeanor
  • Patience

Reprimand Spots

You first need to know where the reprimand spots are so that you can train the horse properly.

These spots are the right and left shoulders. And the right and left sides of the hip (or rump).

The shoulder is especially important since the herd leader would normally nip the shoulder of the horse to get it to move in a certain direction.

In training a horse, you are the herd leader.

Where to Start

To start, get in a relaxed stance several feet in front of the horse. It’s key that you stand in the front and not to the side, as you’d be left in a vulnerable position. The horse could kick you.

Your eyes should also be directly on the horse.

To get the horse to lunge left, the lunge line should be in your left hand. And the lunge whip should be in your right hand.

If you want to have the horse lunge right, the lunge line and lunge whip should be in the opposite hands.

Lunging Technique

Hold the lunge line to the left. And cock your head to the left, making a smooching sound. Again, you are mimicking the herd leader. The herd leader would direct the horse via shaking the neck.

Slightly pull on the lunge whip. As you do so, using the lunge whip, tap the horse’s right shoulder (the right that’s facing you).

Keep tapping and pulling the line towards the left. Relax the line and stop tapping when the horse lunges left.

Go to the horse and rub out the shoulder you tapped on. (Note that the tapping only serves as a reprimand; it should not cause any physical harm to the horse).

Keep practicing, and you should be well on your way to teaching your horse how to lunge.

For more horse training information, contact us.

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