To do a job right you need the right tools, and that includes the tools for lunging your horse. I tend to hold onto my horse equipment forever, so I have found that spending a little more money up front to purchase quality items costs me less in the long run.
I purchased my lunge line and Fabtron Deluxe Balance Training System way back in 2002 when I set out on my own for the first time. With a little basic care, both still function like new. I lunge my horse before every ride, and on most days when I do not ride, so my equipment gets a lot of use.
See why I lunge my horses in Four Points to Evaluate While Lunging Your Horse.
Buying the right equipment for the job has paid off over and over with well-trained, fit horses.
Whether you choose to lunge your horse in a round pen or on a lunge line, you need a quality lunge whip. My lunge whips wear out faster than any of my other equipment so I’ve had the opportunity to try several and find what I like.
I prefer a lunge whip that is 72 inches long, with a comfortable handle and a popper on the end. Most importantly, I always choose one that is a bright color so that I can find it when I lay it down. I have lost so many black, brown, or green lunge whips in the arena dirt or in the grass.
I am currently using the Tough-1 Nylon Lunge Whip in a bright hunter orange. I purchased it a year ago and it is still holding up with daily use. Buy it here.
I purchased my lunge line in 2002, and other than the color fading, it still works as perfectly as the day I bought it. I cannot remember what brand my lunge line is since the tag is long gone, but Southwestern Equine sells one that is very similar. Buy it here. I always choose a flat cotton lunge line with a heavy snap, because your lunge line is only as good as the snap. I prefer a bolt snap, but a bull snap works just as well. The decision is yours.
Cotton will not burn your hands like nylon if the horse pulls on the lunge line so this is the only type I use. After 16 years my cotton lunge line is still soft and flexible even after surviving cold Montana winters and hot Arizona summers.
Both my lunge line and the Southwestern Equine lunge line are 24 feet in length. I like to work my horses on a large circle because it is easier on their joints. I do not want one much longer because I sometimes lunge in small indoor arenas and find myself with too much line.
Southwestern Equine manufactures their lunge lines in the United States and makes an affordable, nice quality lunge line that is an investment in your horse’s fitness.
If your horse pulls on the lunge line you may choose to use a stud chain. A longer chain allows you to go over the horse’s nose so that his head goes down in response to the pressure, or you may choose to run a shorter chain under his chin. A swivel eye allows the chain to move with your horse without tangling your lunge line. Partrade’s 30-inch brass plated stud chain works well and is a great value for the money. Buy it here.
Remember to be soft with your commands if you choose to use a stud chain with your lunge line.
My horses both tend to pull when I lunge them in flat nylon halters, but using my lunging cavesson resolves this without using a chain. Mine is part of my Fabtron Deluxe Balance Training System, but if you want to purchase a stand-alone lunging cavesson, I really like Shire’s Fleece Lined Nylon Cavesson. It has several rings over the nose for attaching your side reins, and a ring under the chin for your lunge line, which most other lunging cavessons (including mine) are missing. It is also fully adjustable so it will fit most horse’s heads. The fleece-lined nose and padded poll strap are nice comfort additions for the horse. Remember to order the Cob size for most stock horses, and the Full size for warmbloods and draft crosses. Buy it here.
Side reins are one of the most valuable training aids that I use, but only with older horses who can walk, trot, and canter balanced in a circle. The reason for this is that when you attach side reins you take away the horse’s ability to raise his head and right himself if he slips. That being said, side reins are a great training tool for stiff horses or those who want to move with their noses out.
Always choose leather side reins with a donut. These have a little flexibility and, most importantly, leather will snap in an emergency so that the horse does not become tangled. Nylon reins do not snap, making them far more dangerous to use.
I love the Tough-1 Leather Side Reins with Donut. The snaps are good quality too and will last many years even with regular use. Buy it here.
A lunging surcingle has various rings for attaching side reins or driving lines. I use my surcingle on my young horses to introduce them to the feel of a girth before I put a saddle on their back, and on my older horses to build their toplines and improve their balance.
I use the surcingle that came with my Fabtron Deluxe Balance Training System, but I really like the Weaver Leather Neoprene Surcingle if you are looking for a quality surcingle at a good price. It is made of neoprene, so it is soft with some give. Before you order, note that the girth included with it is short, so if your horse is much over 14 hands or stocky built you may need a girth extender. For quality and price, this surcingle is a great value. Buy it here.
A lunging system includes a cavesson, surcingle, and various elastic lines with pulleys to improve your horse’s topline and his balance. If you lunge frequently, this is a great investment in your horse.
My Fabtron Deluxe Balance Training System has been one of the best investments I have made in my horses. I purchased it way back in 2002 and it still works as perfectly as the day I bought it. The elastic lines give me the option of setting my horse’s head in various positions so that I can work her in the position that benefits her most. The cavesson included with my set has an extra nylon strap that goes up the middle of the horse’s face, and I do not like that. Otherwise this is a quality lunging system that has lasted me 16+ years and I expect it to last many more. Buy it here.
A Quality Investment
Whether you lunge your horse in a round pen or on a lunge line with a full lunging system, investing in quality equipment gives you the tools you need to improve your horse’s balance and topline. Choose pieces that integrate with your horse’s training program and your investment will pay off over and over. Always remember that quality equipment might cost more up front but has a lower cost of ownership over time.
What are your favorite pieces of lunging equipment? Let me know in the comments below!
Welcome! I've been a freelance writer since 2002 and have numerous horse-related articles published in print and online publications. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Rocky Mountain College with a major in Equestrian Studies and a minor in Business Management. My current business ventures include High Plains Arena and real estate investing.