Lunging cavesson

My only experience with lunging revolves around threading a lunge line through the bit and letting the horse get his yaya’s out before getting in the saddle myself. I am trying to educate myself further regarding lunging/ground work, and from what I gather, a lunging cavesson is much better than stringing the lunge line through the bit. I am looking for information on fitting and using a cavesson specifically for lunging, and would also appreciate links to quality cavessons that I can purchase online if anyone has some. I have searched this forum but most of the links from previous posts are outdated and lead to nowhere.

Also any recommended resources for training a horse for lunging and ground work would be very much appreciated!

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Longeing cavessons are a standard piece of tack and can be purchased everywhere. The important thing is that it fits your particular horse’s head. Breed is a consideration. I got a special Portuguese cavesson that never really fit Paint mare, but is tailor made for the Lusitano cross. Paint mare fits a ratty old nylon standard American size cavesson from the freebie bin.

Honestly for instruction you should try to get some lessons in person in the basics. Most dressage coaches have some skills this way even if they don’t teach them in regular riding lessons.

I also like to work with a rope halter which is more from the Western side of things. A lot of the basic Western groundwork things can be valuably incorporated into dressage inhand work.

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I agree that cavessons need to be fitted correctly, and IMO be made of sturdy, thick leather otherwise the cavesson’s front buckle will not stay put correctly.
Mine didn’t get a lot of use at all. I found my mare went better in her regular, well fitted bridle, and later in just her halter - with the longe line hooked to the side, not underneath - just my preference with this particular mare.
Mare came straight off the track and had obviously not be longed much, but she picked up body language cues very quickly and longeing became a true training exercise she and I really enjoyed. We traveled the whole indoor during our sessions, and I also used to longe her over xc jumps. Fun!

Lessons are a great idea especially if both you and your horse have little experience with longeing.


Longeing is an art! There is a lot more to proper longing than running a horse around in a circle. That said, I would recommend that you observe an instructor longeing, in fact, I’d observe several before I asked for help from them. I would also read Alois Podjasky’s “The Complete Training of Horse and Rider”. while he gives no specfic instuctions, he does give helpful hints.

As far as cavessons go, unfortunatey the reallly good ones are expensive, but well worth the money. There is a recent thread on the subject with resources for good ones.


Vladimir Littauer has a good bit on lunging in “Commonsense Horsemanship” and in “Schooling Your Horse.” Lunging the horse is the basis from which training flows pretty naturally in his system of the Forward Seat.

Every time I look on Amazon or Ebay there are used copies of these two books for sale pretty cheap.

Littauer’s lunging training only uses the lunging cavesson (preferably a real one), lunging rein that is 30’ long, and a lunging whip. No side reins etc… This specific type of lunging training is to develop a horse with free swinging gaits while going gaily forward. Because there are no side reins etc., the horse is free to experiment some until he finds the most comfortable way to give his trainer what he wants. It takes TIME and increasing physical fitness and training in obedience and cooperation before I think side reins can be truly effective, but that is just my own private opinion and is heresy right now in the dressage world.


I like Manolo Mendez’ video. You can get it on Vimeo or DVD. I use more standard methods for lunging, but these videos (and they have other ground work in them) gave me much more appreciation for detail in what to look for and how to approach the work.

I have two cavesons from Quintos Cavallos Verdes in Portugul and love them. They are great quality and they will make them with your choice of color, buckles, # of rings etc.

This one looks more like a glorified halter. It is missing many components of a training cavesson.

Here’s what I use: Lunge Cavesson - Falcon Range (
Some inexpensive cavessons do not have metal around the nose and they will slide around in response to pressure on the longe line. The metal is important! So obviously, padding is important.
I consider a good longe cavesson to be as important as a snaffle bridle in training a horse: not absolutely required, but the right tools make any job a whole lot easier!

I love lunging and you can lunge atca higher level than you can ride, until you get there.

The horse should be able to lunge in walk, trot and canter without side reins. Then in trot and canter in side reins.

Side reins do not maim and kill horses. People using side reins incorrectly maim and kill horses.

I will only used sidecreins, never side reins with elastic.

If you don’t know how to use side reins you need to be taught.

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This is the one I have and I like it a lot. I’m no upper level dressage rider/ trainer so can’t speak to what it could be missing in regard to usability. It has worked very well for my young, green mare and is markedly better than a halter or bridle. Mine has hangers for a bit.

I have this one. Honestly, it’s not too bad for a straightforward lunge session. I would use this over lunging in a halter or clipping the line to/through the bit rings, it’s pretty safe and well padded.

The Wels cavesson and other similar types have a ring on each side of the noseband, this allows the lip strap to go behind or under the bit as would a dropped nose band. When the horse is going forward, the hand quietly follows as would that of a rider. When asking for a downward transition, ‘arrets’ of the rein occur with the voice command . This helps teach the youngster that a slightly resistant hand is asking for a downward transition. Of course initial longeing takes place with no bit, that is where the metal nose piece can transmit a quick downward snap, as you would with a halter.

Later on the horse will learn to follow the seat after he has been backed. Some horses understand following the seat quickly others take longer. Until the light bulb flashes on, the rider has voice and gentle squeezes on the rein.

Yes it definitely doesn’t have all the components of a traditional cavesson. While it can’t be used in the exact manner of those cavessons, I found it okay for an experienced horse that lunges off of just vocal commands. However, I definitely agree that especially with training or working with young horses that it would be more difficult.

Thanks everyone for your input - you’ve all given me a lot of help.

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My young horse was exceptionally difficult to lunge at first and we spent quite some time working on it with that cavesson and it worked well for us. She tested those D rings with some good spooks/ bolts and came back to me much better than in a halter or bridle. I think I lack the education on more dressage focused ground work to understand how it may not be the most suitable for some.

It really just depends on the work you need it for and also what you prefer! If you scroll down, this post talks about the different kinds of cavessons. At the end of the day, the priority is that you and your horse are happy with the cavesson you’re using. No point in changing to something that you or your horse don’t like the feel of.