Every two or three weeks I like to pop my horses on the lunge completely naked, except for a headcollar. No bit, no roller, no gadgets, no nothing. It can hurt training yourself to watch your horse going in a less than perfect frame, but it is very educational. I like to watch them in all three paces – watch the footfall, whether they are tracking up or not, whether the horse maintains the inside bend independently or whether he chooses to bend to the outside; I watch the horse’s chosen head carriage, observe the muscles along the neck and over the back and quarters working. Most of all I use it to check symmetry – does one side match the other in bend, flexion, head/neck position, degree of inside hindleg engagement, tracking up?
It can be a really useful tool to measure physical condition and change and can give you a quick heads up that one side may be a little stiffer or shorter than the other. I learn so much about my horse’s condition and how they are feeling. Give it a try – I guarantee you’ll find it fascinating!