3 - Changing Direction

We start by simply teaching the horse to change direction and move around us in a circle.

Training Notes:

A lot of horses will be experienced at lunging which will only be of benefit in that they will know how to go around you. Many horses have been lunged until they are tired so once they are moving around you, may expect to do so 'forever'.

The most important things that the horse takes away from this lesson is that he always changes direction heading away from you, never turns and faces you and waits for you to ask him to move up into trot or back to walk.

Lesson Steps:

  1. Begin by asking the horse to do figures of 8 at the walk. Here he will become accustomed to feeling the lunge lines behind him and on his sides as well as changing direction away from you.
  2. To change direction, move the whip over first, then pick up pressure on the new inside rein and let the old inside rein run through your hand. Practice this a lot at walk because you don't want to jab the horse in the mouth.
  3. When you are long-reining you are mentally riding the horse - it sometimes helps to remember this.
  4. Stay behind the horse or he will probably turn and face you. This is easier if you watch his hindquarters and watch is tail when turning.
  5. When you are confident that the horse is relaxed with the ropes behind him ask for walk circles around you (just like you were lunging).
  6. Ask the horse to trot, just a few strides at first, and then come back to walk.