Training Tip with Clinton Anderson: A Staple Exercise

Written by Clinton Anderson

Lunging is one of the most used and abused exercises in the horse world. You can go to any horse show or training facility to see what I mean.

Often you’ll see someone in the middle of an arena lunging a horse on a 60- or 70-foot lead rope. The horse is galloping around, he’s got his head turned, looking out of the circle and he’s dragging the person halfway across the arena. Most people use lunging as a way to tire a horse out. After making him run around in a 60-foot circle for 45 minutes straight, they hope he’ll be tired enough to start paying attention to them instead of the other horses or the activity going on around him. That’s the complete opposite of what lunging should be.

I believe in lunging, but I call it Lunging for Respect. It’s not called “lunging to get the buck out of the horse” or “lunging to tire him out.” It’s called Lunging for Respect. You earn a horse’s respect by moving his feet forwards, backwards, left and right and always rewarding the slightest try. The purpose of lunging should be to continuously ask your horse to change directions and focus on you. The more you can get his feet to move and change directions, the more respectful the horse will get, and the more he’ll use the thinking side of his brain, which will make him safer and more trainable.

About Clinton Anderson

Born and raised in Australia, Clinton grew up with a love of horses. Although he lived in the city with his father, Rob, mother, Cheryl, and sister, Andrea, he looked forward to the weekends he got to spend on his grandparent’s farm where his grandmother would give him rides on her old Thoroughbred mare. By the age of 12, he began playing polocrosse and was eventually chosen for a national team representing his state. In 2001, he became the first clinician to create a made-for-TV horse training program that aired on RFD-TV.

The use of untrained horses and a variety of topics covering common problems faced by horse owners quickly made Downunder Horsemanship the network’s number one equine program. Nearly 15 years after establishing Downunder Horsemanship, Clinton continues to instruct horsemanship clinics, presents Walkabout Tours across the country, produces two television shows, hosts an internet TV website and is constantly creating comprehensive study kits and training tools to make learning horsemanship as accessible and easy as possible. Clinton and Downunder Horsemanship are recognized as world leaders in the equestrian industry and continue to offer the very best in innovation, inspiration and instruction.