Groundwork: Lunging Around a Round Pen – 
Teaching voice cues, engagement and collection with clicker training

Gymnastic Groundwork Series Part 6

This final instalment in this series is all about lunging using my Around a Round Pen technique. To demonstrate this, I’m working with my QH Freckles.

Lunging is a great way to give your horse more space to move and to teach him how to stay balanced and calm on a circle and in higher paces without the added challenge of carrying a rider. But, we want to train it in a way that the horse enjoys.

Often, horses have had negative experiences with lunging and are afraid of being chased, running round in circles or turning in. This is a great technique to re-train it as well as to introduce it to green horses.

You’ll see how I use this set-up to easily teach the horse about going on a circle around me while staying relaxed and connected, meaning that Freckles is listening to me. I can then train voice cues, transitions and work on balance changes quietly and happily.

This is all trained using a marker (clicker training) and I reinforce Freckles with food rewards. Throughout my training, I’m looking for emotional joy, physical balance and strong communication between us, which is what Connection Training is all about 🙂


Watch the full Gymnastic Groundwork Demo series here:

P1: Getting Started with In-Hand Work: Leading with Connection 

P2: In-Hand Work: How to Start Lateral Flexions and Shoulders & Quarters Over Using Clicker Training 

P3: In-Hand Work: Teaching Lateral Movements with Clicker Training 

P4: Pole Exercises for Confidence, Body Awareness and Strength

P5: Groundwork: Using Mats and Pedestals

P6: Lunging Around A Round Pen

➣ We have a full Home Study Course on Gymnastic Groundwork in the CT Club. This shows you exactly how to train these movements, starting from leading and building from there, including step-by-step videos of teaching lateral work in-hand. It’s laid out clearly step-by-step showing real horses learning every step of the way so it’s perfect if you’ve never done it before and/or you’re looking for a way to train groundwork using clicker training or positive reinforcement.

The CT Club is an online membership site where you can get access to hundreds of step-by-step training videos on training your horse using positive reinforcement. You can find out more and sign up here. We look forward to seeing you there 🙂

➤ You can also find out more in the #1 bestselling Connection Training BOOK 📖 Get it on Amazon (search for ‘Connection Training’) or download Chapter 1 free here for a preview 👀 


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4 thoughts on “Groundwork: Lunging Around a Round Pen – 
Teaching voice cues, engagement and collection with clicker training

    1. Hi Barbara, just start walking next to your horse just inside the barrier. As your horse gets the idea to walk around the barrier you can gradually move in towards the middle of the circle increasing the distance between you and the horse. Hope that helps but if you want more info and step-by-step videos, there is a LOT of info on this in the CT Club:

      Thanks and have fun with your horse training 🙂

  1. Kathleen Valletta

    Where did you get those poles and cones that you used to make the round pen? I have a gelding that constantly comes towards me when lunging and I think that would solve a lot of our problems. I am in the U.S. Thank you for your time! I love your philosophy and super excited to learn from you and grow with my horse.

    1. Hi Kathleen, the cones are from a sports equipment shop and the extendable barrier poles are from a shop supplying traffic and building sites shop. I know others have bought them in the US so hopefully that gives you the terms you need to find them on Google. Alternatively, I’ve made round pens out of all sorts – the easiest is electric fence poles with tape or rope, but this doesn’t work if your arena has a membrane (though you can use cones and rope quite easily instead) or if your horse is scared of anything that looks like an electric fence. I’ve also used jump poles or fencing rails propped on jump wings, chairs, water buckets, barrels etc. Doesn’t need to be fancy to be effective, but I have to admit that the cones and extendable poles version in this video is my favourite 🙂

      Hope that helps and have fun horse training!

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