Using Lunging to Assess Your Horse for Better Riding Part 3

We have covered how to assess your horse’s lunging issues, how to troubleshoot and fix them, and now we’re going to cover the most important part of lunging: your lunging training plan!

What is a Lunging Training Plan?

A lunging training plan sounds very complicated, right? It doesn’t have to be! Your lunging training plan is made to help make your lunging sessions easier and more focused. You can start with your training goals for your horse. What do you want to focus on each week? What do you hope to accomplish in the next six months? Outlining these goals is your first step to seeing change as your horse progresses. Your lunging training plan should include goals for each session, what equipment you want to use, and any exercises or planning you have to troubleshoot spotty issues on the lunge line. 

The Pyramid of Training 

The Pyramid of Training is an incredibly helpful tool for all disciplines. Originally advertised by the United States Dressage Federation, the Pyramid of Training is a tool you can use to guide you and your horse’s lunging goals. As it states, the Pyramid of Training is actually a pyramid in that each of the components that your horse learns builds off of the one before it. 

The Pyramid of Training is an incredibly helpful tool for all disciplines. Originally advertised by the United States Dressage Federation, the Pyramid of Training is a tool you can use to guide you and your horse’s lunging goals. As it states, the Pyramid of Training is actually a pyramid in that each of the components that your horse learns builds off of the one before it. 

While it might feel exciting to want to jump ahead on the pyramid, it’s important to remember that the building block you’re working on (rhythm for example) needs to be fully understood and solid before moving forward. Working with that same example, the block above rhythm is suppleness. When we ask for or look for a supple horse, we expect that their rhythm is aligned so that they can achieve that suppleness. You’re not going to get a supple horse if she is out of rhythm! 

As you’re working through the Pyramid of Training, remember that these big building blocks take time to learn. You may spend a few months just on relaxation but rhythm might come easier for your horse. You’ll learn which areas your horse naturally succeeds and where she might need a little more help as you go through.

Use the Pyramid of Training as a Guide

As you’re using it to guide your lunging, start with relaxation. During your assessment, was your horse relaxed and supple or stiff? Calm or excited? Ready to work or distracted? These are all important points to work with your horse on during your lunging sessions. As you create your lunging training plan that we discussed above, use the Pyramid of Training as a guide! Use each level of the pyramid when you think about your long-term goals.

For example, you can say each Wednesday when you lunge, you’ll be focusing on relaxation. You could say: in three months, I want my horse to be relaxed on the lunge line at all three gaits.

Setting a goal for you and your horse’s lunging will help you to develop your horse’s training and strengthen her movement. 

The Pyramid of Training is a great tool to access for your lunging training plan. Your plan will help you to see what you and your horse have accomplished and what you can look forward to focus on! Now that you have done your assessment, found and focused on your trouble areas, and perfected your lunging training plan, you and your horse are bound to be an even better lunging team!

Curious to Learn More?

We cover this and more in our Basic Course – The Art of Lunging!

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