How to Lunge a Horse in Side Reins
- 1). Tack up the horse with either a saddle and saddle pad or surcingle and saddle pad. Disconnect the reins from a regular bridle with a snaffle bit, then clip a lunge line to the bit ring and attach the side reins to the saddle or surcingle. You should never immediately lunge a horse in side reins without first warming up.
- 2). Lunge the horse for five or ten minutes at the walk, trot and canter without the side reins. This is to loosen the horse's muscles and increase circulation without any undue stress. Some horses take longer to warm up (fifteen to twenty minutes) so adjust the length to your horse's specific needs.
- 3). Halt the horse and attach the side reins to the bit. The side reins should be short enough so that the horse is forced to tuck his nose slightly, but should be loose enough for the horse to have some play in how he moves his head. Ideally, the nose should be positioned just below the poll with a slight arc to the neck.
- 4). Move back behind the horse's shoulders and urge him into a walk. If this is his first time lunging in side reins, he might not at first realize that he can move forward. You might need a lunge whip to urge him into a walk the first few times.
- 5). Walk the horse on the lunge line several laps while he gets used to side reins. He might test the reins, trying to sling his head up or duck it down, but don't get frustrated. This is a learning experience for both the horse and rider.
- 6). Ask the horse for a trot when he seems to be comfortable in the side reins. Keep the lunge line taut, but give him enough space so that he can move forward as well as around on the circle.
- 7). Trot the horse six or seven times around in each direction for the first time in side reins. You can increase the amount of time in the side reins during subsequent work-outs, but you don't want the horse to get stiff and sore.