My mum read about the HO Lungeing Aid in Horse and Hound back in July, and being a sucker for all things new insisted that we tried it out!
We ordered ours from Sydney Free Saddlery for £24.95 and after a weeks wait it finally arrived. Rather than purchasing the sheepskin, we had an old curb sheepskin which we thread the two pieces of rope through.
Sydney Free Saddlery says: “This is probably one of the simplest aids we have seen, and is extremely popular. It helps the horse to relax and use his back while on the lunge, therefore helping to build up the topline and work through his entire body.”
|Barley modelling the HO Lunge Aid|
It’s also being promoted on Horse Hero by Laura Bechtolsheimer and her father.
Dr Wifried Bechtolsheimer says:
“This is a very useful tool for young horses as well as for fully trained older horses. For young horses, especially in combination with a cavesson, it encourages the still excitable and unbalanced horse to drop his head to a comfortable level. This has various beneficial effects. Taking the head down will help to calm the horse very quickly. (You will never see an excited or panicky horse trot or canter very far with the head down.) The horse can use its neck to find its balance and therefore will find it easier to produce a natural and regular rhythm. In other words, you will find out that the horse tends to run less but will start going with a swinging back much sooner. Whereas, if you use side reins, the horse is restricted and will feel so continually.”
He continues, “the lungeing rope is easy to handle but there are a few important things to remember:
o Check you have equal length of rope on both sides before each lungeing session.
o The length of the rope should allow the horse to stretch out without restriction, but should not be too long so that it can slide too far back on his back or that he could tread on it.
o Never have the rope so tight that the horse is forced to take the head down. This could result in severe injury. If the horse feels too restricted it might try to throw the head up and fall over backwards or the rope might rub under the upper arm of the front legs.”
|Side profile of HO Lungeing Aid on Barley|
So how did we get on?
We tried it out on Jonty the 5 year old Irish Sport Horse to start with. We’ve had him over a year now and really only in the last few months he’s started going to shows and concentrating on his flat work. He took to it like a duck to water and within minutes was stretching down like Dr B states and swinging along looking quite pleased with himself. In fact he was so relaxed that at one point he tried to reach down for grass whilst in trot, which leads on to a point that you have to be so careful that the horse doesn’t get tangled up. We’ve tried it twice and ridden afterwards in our field on the flat and jumping and seen a vast improvement in the way he moves and his behaviour.
|Jonty swinging along|
Then we tried it on Barley the 8 year old Irish Sport horse, and it was a very different story. Immediately we noticed in walk he was tense and was arching his back, we proceeded to trot him and he raised his head which made the aid go tight and he panicked backing up towards the hedge line. Calmly we put him into trot and 5 minutes later he still hadn’t relaxed and was very tense and again panicked raising his head which made the rope tighten round his girth. We quietly trotted him on the other rein but knew that this wasn’t for Barley.
And that’s why we’re calling this the ‘marmite aid’ as some horses love it and some don’t. It could be put down to the fact that Jonty is only 5 and doesn’t really know anything else, whereas Barley is a little more wiser.
|Barley in trot – ears slightly twitchy|
Let me know if you have any feedback on how you found the HO Lungeing Aid.