Trying to teach my horse to lunge! Please Help!

I am full-leasing an older quarter horse who is a lesson horse at my barn. For the last few months I have been trying to teach him how to lunge so that days where I can not ride, I can still make sure he gets exercise. He has done well with learning the basic concepts while walking, but I can not get him to trot at all! I have tried with a lunge whip and have tried everything my trainer has told me to do with it, but he just will not trot. Any advice on how to get him to move??

Are you experienced with lunging? Likely this is a lack of respect issue. While I do think you should work on being the leader in this relationship, I think you should accomplish this through groundwork. Not sure I see the merit in regularly lunging an older lesson horse, lunging is hard on them. What does the trainer or horse’s owner say?


I have lunged a few horses before, but not many. He is still in pretty decent shape considering he is a little older. He is not too old, but he is starting to get there, so he can still do quite a bit. The owners are excited to hear that I am attempting at training him since he is one of their jumpers and they would like him in better shape once I am no longer leasing.

It sounds like you might be used to lunging horses that are well schooled in this exercise and this fellow is not. It sounds like he needs someone who can educate him on the basics of lunging.

Perhaps it would be beneficial to have some 1-on-1 lunging instruction. Consider scheduling a private lesson. Ask your trainer to spend the first 15-20 minutes of the lesson showing you how to lunge this fellow. The rest of your lesson time could be spent on your normal lesson activities i.e. flatting and jumping. Repeat until you can lunge this fellow on your own without difficulty. It shouldn’t take more than a few sessions and you will have acquired a new skill to add to your repertoire.


Longing is hard on horses because they go on such a small circle. Would you canter a horse under saddle on a 15 or 20 metre circle for ten minutes? Probably not.

So I wouldn’t want to think of longing as a fitness exercise. It is too hard on the joints to do it for long enough to have a fitness effect.

It is good for teaching responsiveness to voice cues and to move a horse around on a nonriding day so that he doesn’t stock up.

He may have some pain that is coming out on the longe and be resistant to moving out faster.


Can your trainer get him to trot?

I mean, I don’t generally advocate getting aggressive as the first course of action but probably if you popped him sharply across the butt with the longe whip and acted committed about it he would go.

I also agree that longing is not really a fitness exercise. For that, hop on, get in two point, and canter laps and laps. Also trail rides.

Definitely get professional help training your horse to lunge.

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Sometimes it’s a two person job…check out some you tube offerings with one person on the line, another at the horses head I’ve seen trainers use a rider on top to reinforce cues.
But be careful on those joints as other posters have said


OP, How old is this horse?
If he’s willingly walking on the lunge, maybe this is his only comfortable gait. He’s probably trying to obey, but if he’s
old and creaky in the joints and a used up lesson horse, he may be trying to tell you something. Like “Please
don’t make me sore by running in small circles. It HURTS.”

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You are leasing a lesson horse from the barn, and for the past few months you tried to teach it to lunge but haven’t been able to make it trot.

I’m sorry but what are the owners excited about?

At the very least, I don’t understand why your trainer/trainer of the horse or the owners ( if they aren’t the same) can’t teach you how to lunge their horse.
Those could be good lessons for you.

Why is the horse not in good enough shape while you are leasing it? To me, it feels like you are paying to train a horse… and you don’t have the knowledge to do so.

What is your goal with this horse?
What are you currently doing with it under saddle?
How is it doing?

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No real constructive advice to add, but a funny discovery about my own horse who I’ve been occasionally try to longe - he just won’t respond to the snap of the longe whip at all. Verbal commands, clucking and moving towards him gets him going, as does tapping him with the whip. Then it dawned on me that as a hunt horse, he’s learned to completely ignore the crack of a whip! Longing is on hold for now… :lol:

It’s not that great a thing to do to most horses, especially large horses in small circles.

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