Last night I got out late to the barn, and was still feeling fairly fuzzy (darn colds in the summer time, it is just WRONG), so I grabbed Koda and decided to do a quick lunge session. My rule of thumb is to lunge for 30 minutes max, never over, sometimes under. I rarely keep him on the same circle all the time as I'm sure he finds it boring as well as I do. We'll do spirals in and out, along with some straight stretches as well so I get to move around too. With Koda, as he isn't the most forward horse in the world, we both get a good workout from constantly moving about. I'm sure for an on-looker, our sessions look like absolute chaos and no order whatsoever, but it works for us.
Koda: slow jog, ok
Me: Com'on Koda, TEEE-ROT
Koda: Are you sure? *picks up the tiniest bit of tempo*
Me: *growl, flip whip at haunches and steps in*
Koda: Ok, ok
Generally, for any upward transition, he'll test you as if he wants to make sure that is what you want. He'll toss a bit of attitude in there, with a flick of his heels, but when that happens all he** breaks loose. Some touches of attitude I don't mind, but when hooves leave the ground, that is NOT ok. It's kind of funny in a way, since he is SO half-hearted in all his little rebellions and tests, I'll generally laugh at his attempts at them than get intimidated. Don't get me wrong, he gets reprimanded and praised for proper manners and is 95% a gentleman, but that other 5% he thinks he's a rebel. When we first started the session, he immediately decided he wanted to go over to his friends in the paddock. Well, he trotted nicely out on the circle, then started to canter and try to go straight. Ok, didn't ask for the forwardness, but whatever. The moment he hit the end of the line, he immediately began to circle. Whoever started Koda in lunging did ingrain good manners in there as he has never pulled on the lunge line and carries the line rather consistently as long as I am consistent as well.
One good tip I read before I went out was a post on facebook talking about holding the line instead of pulling. A horse can never find release if we continually pull on the line as there is no release in pressure since we're continually pulling up the slack. I was very conscious of how I was holding my line and the tension in it, particularly on the spiral in as you do have to take in slack there. My method was to take an arm's length, then hold it so that Koda could respond to the new circle size. Since this was a shorter session and I was pressed for time, I didn't put on the vienna reins, but next time out I think I will since he does need help in rounding and connecting through his back.