One of my favorite exercises is lunging in squares. It sounds weird and maybe even simple, but it’s not!
Lunging in squares is literally lunging in squares in stead of circles. It’s an amazing training for horses who struggle with finding their balance (pretty much all horses) and it’s a great mental and physical challenge for both you and your horse.
Start with lunging in a circle and see if, by walking paralel to your horse, you can get straight parts in your circle. If your horse’s shoulder moves towards you, use your whip towards the shoulder to help your horse find the straight line again. If your horse’s shoulder moves away from you, use your whip towards the hind end. You can imagine it’s very challenging to work on so many things at the same time while doing an exercise that is both new and hard for you and your horse. But you will get better if you practice!
Once you and your horse get the cues, you can start with really making squares and rectangles through the whole arena. It can help your horse to start next to the fence. You can make your cues more clear by adding a vocal cue right before you turn your 90 degrees corners. I usually say ‘bochtje’ which is Dutch for ‘corner’ to make Aslan aware of the turn he has to make. If you don’t, it might come as an unpleasant surprise for your horse when he suddenly gets pulled on his head to turn. You will want to do all of this with your bodylanguage. You can bend towards your horse’s hind end a little bit before the corners and walk paralel to him with your arms out as if you control his front and hind end with your hands.
Just give it a try and re-read this newsletter whenever you feel the need for more explanation.
I also made a youtubevideo about this exercise that you can find here (click).