Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lunging at the Show

You would think that lunging your horse at a horse show would be a simple matter as all you require is a clear, flat 20m circle to work on. Unfortunately, good footing is usually taken over by mounted riders and it can be difficult to determine where you are allowed to lunge. If you follow these general rules, you shouldn't have to worry about committing any faux pas by lunging your horse where you will upset other riders or the show management.
  1. Look for signs: If the horse show uses signs to designate different buildings and areas, chances are they will have a sign for the lunging area, too. If there is a signed area, try not to lunge anywhere else.
  2. Ask: The most reliable information will come from the show office.
  3. Follow the crowd: If you see multiple people lunging in the same area, it's pretty safe to assume that you are allowed to lunge there.
  4. Don't squeeze yourself where you don't fit: You don't know which horses in the lunging area might kick or otherwise misbehave (and the others don't know how well-behaved your horse is, either). Don't push it and try to fit yourself into a small space between other horses. Each horse tends to inscribe a circle in the footing that you can see and you should make sure that your horse's circle never touches another. Provide at least 10 metres between lunging circles to prevent accidents. If there's no room for you, wait in line for a space to open up.
  5. Don't lunge in the warm-up rings: It may be very tempting to do it when you only see a rider or two in there, but don't do it. You will get in the way, even if you aren't aware of it, and no one will appreciate you being there. Warm-up rings are often used as additional lunging areas very early in the morning before the show day begins, but you should leave the area as soon as you see any riders approaching to use the space for its intended purpose. 
  6. Be aware of the other horses: Some horses are much more sensitive than others, and overuse by another handler in the ring of the whip or voice aids can cause those sensitive horses to lose it. If you notice that another horse is being affected by your lunging, tone it down.
  7. Prepare at home: Lunging areas at horse shows are usually open spaces and a horse that is used to being lunged in a confined area can have some difficulties adjusting. This can cause problems not only for you but for the other horses that need to get out of your way! Make sure that your horse lunges well at home and practice in more of an open area if you can.

1 comment:

  1. I hope a lot of people will read this. At an event my friend was doing upper level jumping, there was this young girl with her horse in the warm up ring, lunging him, at the end of the arena where all the riders were having to dodge them right after jumping ~4' jumps. The riders and my friend were kindly asking her to lunge him somewhere else but she ignored them and was rude. Acting like a know-it-all in front of her friend. Eventually a ring steward came to the warm up ring and made her leave but it ruined the quality of warm up for the advanced jumpers. People just need to be considerate of others to make the shows fun. It wasn't even close to the time for that young girl to show.