Correct fit of lunge equipment for your horse

When installing any type of horse gear, it is important that you know the ideal or “norm” settings for that piece of tack.

With lunge gear in particular, it’s important to get a good idea of ​​the fit, as people often only have access to one set of gear for multiple horses. This is not recommended in large yards, where skin conditions could be transmitted between horses. Between one or two horses in a private yard, this is less of an issue, as they will most likely live close together anyway. This is probably because compared to other horse gear, the lunge roller and lunge cavesson are extremely adjustable and can fit a wide variety of horses.

When setting up lunge gear, it’s usually best to place the sliding head under the cavesson. The bit on the sliding head should sit so that there is a slight wrinkle at the corners of the horse’s mouth, and if you make “contact” on the bit with your fingers, the cheeks should not arch significantly. As for the cavesson lunge, the noseband should be two finger widths from the bottom of the cheekbone on either side. This prevents rubbing against the cheekbone, but ensures that it does not slide down and interfere with the horse’s breathing. So it should be firmly attached, but you should still be able to slip two fingers on the back and front of the noseband, as if it is too tight it will inevitably cause discomfort for the horse. Most lunging cavessons have a second strap which is placed just below the jaw, this needs to be done fairly firmly as if it is too loose the cavesson will slip as you lunge.

The lunge roller is a fairly straightforward piece of lunge equipment, it sits just behind the withers where the front of the saddle would sit and a specially cut pad or regular sweatshirt can be placed under the roller for comfort. Try to make the lunge roller circumference even on both sides. To avoid pinching, the ideal is that it is gathered up to the middle of each side.

It is possible to ram other items of horse equipment, for example a saddle and bridle, but it is important to secure the stirrups so they do not hit the horse’s sides. Also, when lunging with a bridle, care must be taken with the intensity of the contact, as the line of the lunge is directly in the horse’s mouth and will be much more severe than a cavesson lunge. This may be a solution, however, for a strong or ignorant horse. It is best to discuss the implications with your regular trainer and tailor your lunging equipment to your individual horse. The same goes for training aids and other horse equipment as there are hundreds of variations and each one has a different mechanism and action. Try to find out how it works and discuss the fit with your trainer or a specialist, for example at the accessory store where you bought the item.

Finally, when fitting lunge equipment, don’t forget that the quality of the material used will usually change the fit. For example, once broken in, leather cavessons often develop a snug individual fit, which can help prevent chafing. Keep an open mind though, as webbing or nylon can be just as good, depending on your requirements.

Whatever lunging equipment you choose, make sure it’s right for your horse by giving you a full analysis of the fit at stop and on the move. Have someone look it over for you, even if they are experienced, it can be beneficial to do so in case you missed something. If you are both happy with the fit, you can begin your lunge work with the peace of mind that your horse is comfortable in his new gear.

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