How do you teach a young horse to lounge?

Horses December 03, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF
In teaching a young horse to lounge, you will find it is much easier if you have a round pen or small enclosure. If that is not available, it can be done in the open. Obtain a line/lead rope that is at least 18-20 feet long or longer. Attach the lounge line to the side ring of the halter and have the excess in your hand to help encourage the horse to move forward. Form a triangle of the line, the horse, and your arm/whip. Keep the head tipped to the inside, and use your arm/excess line or whip to drive the horse forward and around you while remaining in the center of the circle. In most cases, you only have to carry the whip; it is generally not necessary to use it. You may need to push your line at the shoulders to encourage the horse to move around you and not face you. Never take your eyes off the horse. When you want the horse to stop while lounging, step toward or parallel to your horse's head. Otherwise, when you are at or behind the hip, your horse knows to move forward. When the horse stops to face you, pull it forward toward you. Keep light tension on the line, but if the horse braces himself and pulls on you, then you will need to do light, quick tugs on his head. Remember, body position is key, and keep your toes pointed to the horse's hip. Just take small steps as you follow the horse around, and avoid feeling as if you are walking a lot or leading him around. Encourage the horse forward at a trot or canter by maintaining your body position and adding vocal encouragement and cues. Be sure to remain a safe distance (center of circle) from the horse at all times to prevent being kicked. Until your horse is proficient at lounging, spend a lot of time practicing the stop. The following page contains a video on lounging your horse.