Miniature horses are just like their bigger cousins and need exercise just like them if not more. Mini’s unfortunately can have more obesity problems then regular sized horses.
In order to do that you can have them perform certain exercises including lunging them.
So how do you lunge your mini?
Teaching your mini to lunge can take up to 4 weeks, but is well worth it. You should start with 2 people one holding a 15 foot lunge line and the other holding a lead rope in front of them. As you give commands have the helper help them go to that direction and perform the command. Start off with 10-15 minutes max at most and increase over the time of the 4 weeks.
As they get better have the helper unhook the lead rope and try without the help. Then have them jump in when needed. You may also want to use a 6 foot lunge whip. Not everyone needs this as you can use your arms to get them going or the end of the lunge line.
What You Need To Lunge Your Mini Horse?
These are some supplies you will need to properly lunge your miniature horse. Not all of them are required.
- Gloves – so your don’t burn your hands on the lunge line.
- Lunge Line – 15-20 feet should be long enough. The longer it is you can use for a whip as well.
- Area for lunging – usually at least a 25 yard diameter will be suffice and somewhat level.
- Halter – a nice comfortable halter since you will be tugging in all directions at first.
- Saddle – after the first few weeks may want to add saddle with some weight if trying to break
- Lunge Whip – this is essential to make noise to get them to listen you can also use the end of the lunge line.
Those are the basics to get you started and get your mini to where they need to be.
What Is Lunging?
When lunging a mini horse it is basically just a form of exercise for he or she. They work around in a circle around yourself who is in the center of that circle. A lunge rope is used most of the time especially in the beginning.
Or if in a round pen you can do what is called free lunge where they are not on a lunge line you use vocal commands and movements.
To dive deeper and get others opinions we have gone out to other horse websites and horse forums to get info from other mini horse owners on their experiences with how they got their miniature to lunge.
We curated this information from sub reddits as well and only corrected some grammar/spelling other then that the answers have remained the same.
How To Teach A Mini Horse To Lunge
Real Mini Owner Answers
1. Feather1414 “First Teach Them How To Trot” – Before you can teach a horse to lunge, they need to understand they are to trot.
Do you have them going off voice commands? When I start mine, I go into my “round” pen and I work them there for quite a while. I teach them that
they are to trot when I want them do. I do this by means of whip, voice controls and such.
When they understand this, I then graduate to putting the lunge line on them, and repeating the same things INSIDE the round pen. They they
begin to understand what to do.
It may take a while, but then you should be able to lunge a horse wherever you want based on the voice commands. *note* I myself dont have a round pen. I use an old goat pen ((about 1/3 of
an acre)) and I work in there. The fencing is safe and whatnot. Its good for them too because they get to practice Liberty. I also train them that as soon
as that halter comes off they had BETTER be working well.
2. Lyn_J “Easier In Round Pen” – Are you using just a line or a round pen? They seem to be easier to start in the round pen even if you use a line.
Use your body language and your whip. Keep the whip extended out about waist level. I have found that if I stand still in the center it doesnt work. I
keep my body BEHIND the center line of the horse. Sort of driving him from the hip rather than center. I keep them up against the fence with my
body and drive with the whip from behind.This doesn require you to walk a smaller circle with them not just turn on an axis in the center. It seems like
if my body position got too far forward they would stop or reverse. When I want to TEACH a reverse I step out in front of them and then they turn
away from my body. I end sessions with putting the whip down and extending my hand and they come to me. It is good to teach horses to move
off your body position… thats how they direct each other if you watch a herd. Lots of times I will go out in the lot without a line or whip and just
move them without touching them in serpentines , backing, calling forward etc. Touch is the final reward. Works with horses of any age. Gets them
ready to learn showmanship etc more easily.you can also use this in liberty to get the direction changes necessary and you can teach hand signals for
changing gaits as well
3. Jill “Hard if just using a lunge line” – It can be very hard to teach a horse to lunge on a line, especially w/o another person to help.
If you’re in a round pen, then it’s always been easy for me with all the horses I have lunged (many as yearlings). You must be more agressive with
the whip and after a little bit (very little bit), if tapping their butt doesn’t get them to go and popping the whip behind them doesn’t get them to go (and
keep going, consistent pace), snap their butts with the whip. It will get their attention and it’s not “mean”. Too many people are way too soft with the
whip and they just don’t get anywhere. Once you’ve snapped their butt a few times as aggressively as you need to, then you’ll only need to pop the
whip behind them. So, it’s just like get the aggressive part in up front, then you probably won’t need any whip to butt contact ordinarily after the
message has been made clear.
4. BillieTheKid40 “Spent A Great Deal Teaching Them To Walk and Trot First” – When I trained my horse to longe I had already spent a
great deal of time teaching him walk, trot, easy, and whoa commands on the lead line. He had been conditioned to the whip so he knew what it was
and was not scared of it. I had a helper stand at his side on the outside of the circle, and made the circle about half the size I wanted it to eventually
become. At first the helper walked hima round while I gave commands from the center. As we went the helper started by letting go of the halter
and walking beside only. Then the helper gradually got further and further away from the horses head until he was walking around in a circle by
himself. If we hit a road block the helper simply stepped in and reminded him where his circle was and then again gradually backed away.
This worked in one session. By our second session I no longer needed a helper as my horse had got the idea of “circle” and after that it was a matter
of teaching him his commands from a distance and working on having him make his “circle” a little more round and a lot less square or oval LOL
5. Boinky “Use Visual Blocks If Possible” – honestly if your a beginner at teaching lunging to a horse.. your best bet would be to set up some sort of visual blocks in a circle around where you
will be lunging (Jump standards & rails/ chairs with planks on them ect) if your horse are used to electric fencing take some white tape fencing and string it around in
a circle..that will be a visual block like a round pen panel but keep your lung line attached to the horse. THEN try lunging. i bet you’ll see a change.
So far my method (without round pen or visual block) has worked with about a 95% accuracy most of the time with all my big and little horses but this is what i do…I tend to start my youngsters
out at a VERY close range..within arms length.. i stand backwards the hip and tap the rump with a whip and make them pretty much pivot around me… when they are easily doing that i start
feeding the line out further and further. younger horses tend to like to spin in twords you or go the other direction so i keep them at whatever length they are comfortable at and is easy for me to
intercept if they spin.. don’t be afraid to tap them even a good quick sharp one on the rump to make them understand that YOU are the boss and you say what goes and you want them to go
FORWARD… i’m not saying BEAT the horse..but get it’s attention and get the forward movement out of him. usually only takes one or two slaps for them to get the idea! Many horse shave a good
side and a bad side that they will lunge easier/better on. on the bad side you will most likely have to work him very close for longer..then feed out a little bit at a time.. try to really anticipate him
spinning before he does it so he gets the idea that he CAN’T do it..easier to prevent bad/wrong behavior before it starts than to correct it once he figures out he can do it!
I DO encourage you to set up a visual barrier for him though..it will make your job and his easier if your not real knowledgeable on lunging or training horses to lunge. It looks sooooo easy until
you try it for the first time! lol
Another option is to actually do a Long lining lessons with him where you use your lunge line… but also use an outside rein hooked from the halter (you’ll want a circingle or saddle on for this).
run the outside rein through a low setting so that the line goes down from the bridle or halter to mid girth area- elbow area and then back around the rump and to your hand. you will want to keep
a constant contact with the outside rein which will keep the horse from spinning it’s rump out away from you and spinning inward. the inside rein is the guide rein to keep it on the circular track.
I”ve done this with alot of youngsters too….especially ones that i was just NOT quick enough to keep from spinning in…some i just start doing this BEFORE lunging free period. it also tends to
give them a jump start on long lining and ground driving in the future with driving horses. anyhow those are a few options that would probably help you significantly.
edited to ad: I didn’t mean a TRUE long lining lesson with that you would have your inside rein back through a circling ring then to your hand..this is sort of a half long lining session where you
have your inside rein as a lunge line straight from the halter to your hand and the outside rein as well.
So a few different opinions there with great advice. Just remember to start slow and get them to walk and trot first. Once they listen to those commands it will be much easier to get them listening to your future commands.
Using a round pen will be easier at first for most minis. If you don’t have a round pen that’s okay don’t let that hold you back from getting going with your mini. Just get a lunge line and a halter to get them started.
Also having a helper is usually a great help at first, but is definitely not a must just be careful when working on your own.