No, lunging a horse is not necessary before you ride it.
My horse is pretty willing to do things but I don’t “normally” lunge him. However, I recently began to lunge him for 5-10 minutes before I ride him to get his focus up. Plus, I plan to increase it to 12 minutes when winter comes, as he will need some warm up time.
Every horse is different and yours might not like it. So, do a “little testing”. For 7 days, lunge him before you ride him and then the week after, don’t lunge him. See which is best for him.
Note: Avoid lunging him till he sweats or anything. I do not recommend this or advise that you lunge a horse to get the energy out of him, I only lunge to get them focused especially if they’re stalled.
There may be a time when you may have no choice than to lunge him.
For instance, if he goes lame but only when he’s trotting on a circle, the vet may want to see him lunged for proper diagnosis. It’s also quite good for establishing ground manners or voice commands.
If your horse likes it, it’s a beneficial to both parties especially if you don’t want to ride but want your horse to still get some exercise; a quick 15-minute lunging session solves the problem.
Is Lunging a Horse Necessary?
Every horse has unique quirks and are different. My sister’s show horses need to be lunged before ridden. However, the lesson horses have never enquired to be lunged. You should find out what works best for your own horse.
If your horse doesn’t like it, I suggest you keep doing it, to get him used to it, just in case you had a reason where you had to lunge him for something in the future.
Over to you, what do you think? Is lunging a horse necessary or optional?