So I was lunging a very fat, currently out of work, Haflinger for a client earlier this week. He’s as wide as he is tall, and is supposed to be undergoing a weight-loss-back-to-riding regime.
Anyway, they’ve been struggling to lunge him as he turns towards you and tries to come for a cuddle. He needs to lunging to build up a little bit of fitness and to try and lose some of the shoulder pads so his saddle fits.
He trotted out on the lunge sweetly enough but soon stopped and turned towards me, even though I was behind his shoulder. I waved the lunge line and my hands to push him out of my space and after a minute or two he got the message and trotted off again. We repeated this a few times and then he even picked up a bit of canter. I was surprised how easily he actually cantered the circle considering his level of fitness, but he soon became tired.
As he got tired he tried to turn in more, but when he wasn’t allowed to he found a new trick. Head towards the gate at a very fast trot! The first time I held the lunge line as he bounced off the wooden gate, and sent him round the circle again. He repeated the trick a couple more times and unfortunately there was no way my weight was any match for a 14.2hh square Haflinger so he got his way. Except that we didn’t finish the session.
I was trying to get two more circuits after the last gate charge before finishing the lunging so that we finished away from the gate and on my terms. But the Haflinger charged at the gate again, I held tight. Pulling the lunge line in my gloved (for once) hands, I managed to steady the charge.
Then there was a pop, and I felt myself punch myself in the stomach. With a groan and rubbing my tummy I looked at the remnants of the broken lunge line in my hands. The force of the horse as he charged across the school had snapped the lunge line clean in half!
So with a bruised tummy I had to call an end to the lunging. But just you wait, Mr Haflinger, I’ll be prepared next time!