How to Lunge a Horse

Knowing how to lunge a horse is an excellent way to exercise or work off some excess energy before a ride. For training purposes, it is ideal.

Not only are you on ground level with your horse and able to watch for any lameness or balance issues, but it enables you to connect with your horse.

Using your body language and voice along with the simple tools needed allows the horse to focus on you, the person who should be in charge, to tell it what to do next. This reliance will come in handy later on when the horse pauses to seek direction from you, trusting that you will guide it properly.

If you prefer to learn from a video rather than reading a text, here’s a clip that shows you the basics of lunging:

1. Training Tools

Here is a brief list of some equipment you will need when lunging a horse (if you need to buy something, check out what I think is the best place to shop):

  • Halter, (you can be fancy and get a lunging cavesson, but a halter will do the job just fine).
  • Lunge line, approximately 35 feet or longer
  • Lunge whip or crop
  • Leg wraps, especially if your horse is known to clip its legs with its hooves
  • An enclosed area such as a round pen is recommended, especially for green horses
  • Helmet, recommended for added protection
  • Gloves

It is important to have the appropriate equipment before attempting any sort of training to ensure that you are not putting yourself or your horse at risk of any unnecessary injury.

The halter needs to fit comfortably, which means that two fingers can fit easily beneath it. If it is too tight, this can cause irritation and distract the horse from your teachings, not to mention some nasty sores if left untreated.

The lunge line should be shortened to begin with and your whip held pointing toward the ground and not raised menacingly. You don’t want to spook the animal or have it start moving off until you are ready.

Once everything is gathered and checked for comfort and safety, walk into the round pen or ring (if you have one).

Lunge Lines for Horses
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2. Positioning

Now that you and the horse are in the ring, it is time to appropriately position the horse in order to begin the lesson. If you are starting the lunge to the left, keep the lunge line in your left hand and the whip in the right. The opposite is true for the other direction.

Be sure that the line is not wrapped around your hand as a runaway horse can pull on it and severely burn your skin. Instead, have it in folds that are not twisted but resting loosely in your hand. The whip should continue to point toward the ground until you are ready to begin.

You will use your equipment to make a triangle with them and the horse, keeping the whip by the hindquarters as an aid to keep the horse moving. Keep your eyes by the shoulder and your body aligned with the horse to avoid stressing it by staring in a “predatory” manner.

3. Lunging

Center yourself in the middle of the ring and give your horse the cue to walk, allowing the lunge line to slip through your fingers with the horse’s movement. You always want to keep the line loose but above the ground so that the horse does not step on it. If your horse is familiar with your cues, then controlling its speed should not be difficult. If not, then you will need the whip as a guide and incentive for the horse to understand what you wish of it.

Walk the horse to begin with in order to both get it used to the equipment and to warm up. This is the time where you should be studying your horse’s movement, making sure that no sign of lameness has turned up that you may have missed before.

If everything is in order and your horse has responded nicely and is warmed up, then the exercise may begin to intensify. Keep your horse toward the outside when you ask for it to go to the trot as a too-small circle can damage the legs and your horse will become unbalanced. Use your aids to speed the horse up by tightening the triangle via pulling the whip in closer to the body and using your vocal cues. This is a great way to reinforce your cues and also to begin teaching them to a young horse or one that has never had this sort of training before.

You can canter the horse if you are comfortable doing so, though it is recommended that you keep that gait for no longer than five minutes in either direction.

Once you are ready to change direction, stop the horse by giving it the cue to slow or halt and placing the whip on the opposite side of your triangle to reinforce your point. Once the horse has stopped, you can approach and switch the side that the lunge line is on. Turn the horse, aligning yourself in the opposite direction with your lunge line and whip in the appropriate hands, and then begin at a walk again before increasing the pace, allowing the horse time to adjust being on the opposite lead.

4. Tips

  • Never lunge the horse in one direction only as this will cause damage to joints.
  • Always lunge for the same amount of time in either direction to avoid working up the muscles on only one side of the horse’s body. This can lead to damage during growth or to the joints.
  • Do not try and lunge a lame horse. It will only exacerbate the problem.
  • It is recommended to lunge a horse that you are familiar with to avoid problems in the ring.
  • To avoid turning in, point your whip at the horse’s shoulder in order to keep it on track and prevent it from coming to an immature stop or turning before you are ready.


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What Is Bute for Horses?

Phenylbutezone, or more commonly known as bute, was initially used in humans as well as animals up until about the year 1949. It was discontinued for human use in both the United States and England due to serious side effects. It continues to be used in animals, but should be closely monitored with constant use. It still provides probably one of the best pain relieving and swelling treatments on the market.

What is Bute for Horses?

Bute for horses is made in ingestible forms like paste, powder, feed additive or intravenous solution. Bute paste for horses seems to be the easiest way to administer. It can be flavored and injected into the mouth cavity. There are known side effects and drug interactions, but bute horse medication is generally considered safe.

Bute For HorsesUses of Bute in Horses

Horse bute is used in the treatment of swelling and pain relief, especially in aged horses that suffer from arthritic-type chronic pain. It can and is used to treat fevers in horses, but should be closely monitored by your veterinarian. There could be serious reasons for a fever, and reducing it without treating the underlying cause can prove fatal. You should be very aware of the weight of your horse and follow dosage amounts and instructions closely. Serious overdosing can result in renal failure and kill your horse quickly. It should only be injected intravenously in the veins. It should never be injected into muscle tissue, because it could cause tissue damage. Signs of overdose are lack of appetite and a depressive state.

Side Effects of Bute

Side effects of horse bute are generally only seen with continuous use. This can include ulcers, reduced appetite, bone marrow suppression and bleeding disorders. The increased risk of bleeding and stomach issues is why it should be closely monitored by a qualified veterinarian for routine and daily use. They can spot potential problems and reduce the amounts, or discontinue use when necessary.

Drug Interaction Precautions

Bute can reduce the effectiveness of barbiturates in horses. It can also become stronger when used in combination of drugs such as Warfarin. Discuss any possible drug interactions with your veterinarian before administering it, because it could be dangerous to add bute if your horse is already taking a medication that can increase bleeding risks. It’s always best to be cautious!

Is it Safe to Use Bute in Horses?

Although bute for horses may seem to have some dangerous side effects, it is regularly used safely to treat chronic pain and swelling conditions. It is well worth the effort to offer your horse relief from pain and discomfort. As long as you monitor your horse for any of the following symptoms you should be fine. Discontinue use if:

  • Your horse develops a rash.
  • Your horse quits eating.
  • Exhibits signs of colic.
  • Drinks a lot, but produces very little urine.
  • Shows signs of digestive pain or discomfort.

Follow up with your veterinarian to make sure that your horse is doing well after any type of adverse reaction with bute.

Gastric Ulcers and the Use of Horse Bute

There is an increased potential for gastric ulcers with the use of bute, but it is not much different than aspirin use in humans. Too much of a good thing can cause problems. Added stress from injuries and pain are thought to contribute an equal amount to the development of gastric ulcers. Making sure that the dosage is correct and not too much is the best way to guard against gastric ulcers. Monitor how your horse seems to be feeling and reduce as much stress as you can. Stress reduction is important to help heal your horse anyway.

Ways to reduce Stress for Your Horse

  • If your horse has suffered injury, or is simply in pain due to arthritis or age, decreasing stress will be helpful. Make sure that you maintain feeding times. A horse that doesn’t get food at a predictable time starts feeling stress.
  • Have plenty of fresh water available that they can easily reach.
  • Limit foot traffic through their stall area.
  • Keep the horse in a separate area until they seem up to handling group activity.

All of these in combination with the use of bute will prove helpful to your horse.

Horse ButeVeterinarian Consultation

It is important to get in touch with your veterinarian if you suspect your horse has an injury or illness. Even though they are very large animals, their health can fail quickly. Fevers should never be taken lightly. There are some conditions in which giving horse bute will not prove helpful. In those cases. your veterinarian can suggest other medications or treatments that will be effective. You should never place your horse on a daily regimen without consulting with your veterinarian. Long term use is only helpful for certain conditions. Make sure that what you are doing is beneficial.

No one wants to see their horse experiencing pain or illness. It is inevitable that at some point you will have to deal with it at some level. Bute for horses is a drug that can be used safely to treat many of the common issues associated with injuries and skeletal-muscular aches. It has been a safe remedy for many years and could provide the kind of relief your horse needs. As with any medication, there are always limits to the ability to treat certain conditions, and dosages have to be carefully followed.

When all precautions are taken, bute paste is an easy drug to administer and normally provides fairly immediate relief of both pain and swelling. As with humans, aging equine can experience flare-ups of swelling and pain of arthritis and osteoporosis conditions. Bute is proven to work well in reducing the pain and discomfort without too many adverse effects. Anything is worth a try to bring relief to a horse that is experiencing chronic pain. It might be enough to bring back the spring in their step, so it’s absolutely worth exploring the option with your veterinarian.


How Horse Stall Mats Can Make Your Horse Happy

Opinions vary as to whether spending money on horse stall mats is a worthwhile venture. Your horse is the best judge as to whether they are worth it. Horses with sensitive hoof areas are prone to injury and stiffness in areas that have hard ground, wood or cement flooring. The most commonly bought and sold are rubber horse stall mats. Size can vary, but there is no doubt that they offer your horse a more comfortable surface to stand on and are easy to clean. The time savings alone make them an attractive option to seriously consider. Standing for long periods of time for the average human can be tiring. Imagine the sensation on your feet if you were a 1,000 pound animal. They offer an inexpensive way to make your horse feel a bit spoiled and who doesn’t want that for their beloved horse?

What are Horse Stall Mats?

Horse stall mats is a product designed to cover the flooring area where your horse has to spend large amounts of time in a standing position. The rubber insulates the legs and hooves from hard dirt, concrete or wood. The addition of the mats is simple, affordable and your horse will take to them right away. You will immediately notice much less shuffling and weight shifting with their use. A comfortable horse is a happy horse.

Horse Stall Mats

What Comprises a Horse Stall Mat?

Rubber horse stall mats are made of either polymerized or vulcanized rubber. Vulcanized rubber tends to be a bit harder than polymerized versions. Polymer rubber tends to be a bit softer. Both are considered useful for the purpose of making horse stalls and various other containment areas more comfortable and easier to clean. Size varies widely. There are single wide sheets as well as smaller block-type constructions. You can find a list of mats right here

Uses of Horse Stall Mats

Horse stalls are an obvious place that mats can and are frequently used. They are also convenient for areas such as:

  • Bathing stalls
  • Trailers
  • Medical treatment areas
  • Grooming pens
  • Stable walkways

Anywhere that your horse has to stay in place for a period of time is a great place to add horse stall mats. They are only a few dollars each, but provide comfort and protection for your horse and a convenient and easy way to keep these areas clean. Think of the time savings when all you have to do is pull them out and hose them clean.

Interlocking Horse Stall Mats

Interlocking horse stall mats are made of the same durable rubber product, but are designed to cover a larger space than a simple stall or trailer floor. The interlocking feature ensures that they will stay together and provide the coverage that you need. Even the most avid pawing horse won’t be able to break them loose. You will be able to separate them when needed to clean the area quickly.

Interlocking Horse Stall Mats
Interlocking Horse Stall Mats Are Kept Into Place by This Ingenious Construction

Easier Cleaning at an Affordable Price

A little soap, scrub brush and a hose are all you need to get rubber horse stall mats sparkling clean. There are no special cleaners or cleaning processes needed with this type of product, and that might be the best reason to invest in a suitable rubber mat product. Less time spent cleaning, means more time in the saddle. It’s a great solution for both you and your horse.

Tips on Making the Right Horse Stall Mat Purchase

You can find horse stall mats for sale in many locations. There are some things you should keep in mind before making the purchase. After all, you do want the purchase to last as long as possible.

  • Larger mats are not always better. Smaller ones can be used in both large and small areas. This gives you the most flexibility for the money.
  • Un-grooved lasts longer. A grooved mat is strong, but it has some added weakness with the grooves. You will get the most wear and tear use out of an un-grooved surface mat.
  • If you are unsure about whether you want vulcanized or polymerized, try a sampling of both with your horse and see which they seem to prefer.
  • Although it’s nice to recycle and reuse things, avoid recycled horse stall mats. They are often used conveyor belts that can contain materials that will cause the mats to break down quicker.

The Rubber Stink

Some people will avoid the use of horse stall rubber mats due to the initial rubber smell associated with them. There is no evidence that suggests it is harmful and the smell does fade rather quickly. It should completely fade after the first week or two. Airing out the stable areas, trailers and wherever you have them placed helps quite a bit.

Comfort for Recuperation

Horse stall mats are perfect for aging equine or horses recuperating from illness or injury. Easing any amount of stress from horses will create a better disposition and improved quality of life. They spend a large percentage of their lives on their feet and this is an easy way to make at least a portion of that time more enjoyable.

Everyone that is owned by a horse knows that the amount of work associated with their care is worth the effort. They give so much back in return for the basics of shelter, food and affection. Adding a comfort layer of rubber horse stall mats between the hard floor surface and their hooves could be one thing you may have not really thought about previously. Not only will your horse appreciate it, but you will be doing yourself a favor when it comes time to clean. It also reduced scratch damages to trailer floors. Replacing the floor in a horse trailer is not only difficult, but can be very expensive. This is especially true if you have to have it done by a professional trailer repair service. Only you know if the addition of horse stall mats is right for you, but there are a lot of positives to be gained for a small amount of investment.


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