A veteran horse will appreciate being lunged as it will add variety to his routine and provide mental stimulation. We may think that a lush field is very appealing to a horse, they actually evolved to graze for miles, so even a fairly large field can become boring. It is of course dependant on your horse how much of the lunging equipment you will require him to wear. It may be sufficient to just use a lunge cavesson so that he will have the opportunity to balance himself without the hindrance of side reins. A lunge roller and side reins may be used but whatever lunging equipment you choose to use make sure you make plenty of transitions to keep him focused.
Lunge work usually takes place in short intensive sessions and a couple a week should be enough to keep the older horse active and reasonably fit. Working on a circle puts a great deal of pressure on the legs and joints, so if possible have the circle larger than you would with a younger more supple horse. A session of twenty minutes is more than enough for a fit horse, so make sure to take into account his individual needs, especially if this is his only form of exercise. An older horse should wear boots as essential lunging equipment to protect his legs and add support.
Adding variety to the older horse’s work routine is especially important, so that he is using all of his muscles, to help avoid stiffness. Using a few trotting poles and even putting up a small jump will make the session more stimulating for both you and your horse. Make sure you take into consideration the safety aspect and if possible use the modern plastic block jumps on the inside then there is no wing top for the lunge line to potentially catch on.
When horses have had an active life with lots of human attention they can quickly become depressed if they are ‘abandoned’ in the field. Investing in a few items of lunging equipment can go along way to prevent this and give an older horse a purpose in life.
What ever type of lunging you choose to do remember to build up gradually the time and intensity.
The Equine Store has large stocks of lunging equipment, tack and clothing for both you and your horse. Why not pay us a visit at http://www.equine-store.com/