October 12, 2010

Lunging or Longeing?

Teaching Rose to longe,  winter '09
A relative a while back asked me why I spelled "lunging" funny. "Well", I said "I don't". It's French and is spelt LONGEING. I think the confusion comes from non-horse activities that are forced on the majority of American kids in PE class...lunges. I recall my tennis coach making us do 10 sets of lunges down the very long hallway in one wing of my high school every time it rained. One of the many joys of participating in sports in the PNW. I digress. For everyone's clarity I have assembled the following definitions/historical info in an attempt to educate the masses and provide a concrete answer to the age old lunging vs. longeing question.


Longeing: a technique for training horses, where a horse is asked to work at the end of a long line and respond to commands from a handler on the ground who holds the line. It is believed to be derived from either the French word allonge meaning "to lengthen", or the Latin longa meaning long (www.wikipedia.com). This is the classical spelling of the word and as such, in my mind, the correct spelling.

Longe Line: The 30' long line that is attached to the caveson or bridle, and held by the handler in the center of the circle. I personally love padded cotton longe lines...so much more comfortable to hold than those stiff web ones!


Lunging: to thrust or propel (as a blow) in a lung (www.merriam-webster.com). For instance, racehorses often lunge out of the starting gate. Not really what you want your horse to be doing when you are on the other end of a line. 

Here's an interesting little story that makes the whole lunging thing rather clear, by No1Dazy:
"My trainer went to a racetrack to try out a new horse. (OTTB) She asked the horse's trainer, "does he lunge?" The race trainer's response: Just a little, when he first breaks out of the gate!"

Lungline or Lung Line: Not a word/phrase. Do you really need to swing a lung around on a 30' line? I think not.

Lungeing: Not a word, just a total misspelling. A hybrid between longeing and lunging. Even google doesn't' like it: "Did you mean: lunging "

Lunge Line: A misspelling of longe line, based on using lunge instead of longe.

Longing: : a strong desire especially for something unattainable (www.merriam-webster.com). Just a common misspelling I've noticed. It's pretty easy to leave out the e when you are typing quickly. I can say though that I've had my horse longings for sure!

Longline: a heavy fishing line that may be many miles long and that has baited hooks in series (www.merriam-webster.com). I don't know about you, but I am not attaching that to my horse!

Happy trails and swooshy tails!


  1. It's funny, I finally had to look it up one day, too, because everyone seemed to spell it different. Now my biggest mistake is that I often forget the "e" so I end up with longing. The spell checker isn't much help :(

  2. I have to admit that after writing this post I had to go back and spell check my old articles for the same longing misspelling as well! It's so easy to forget the "e"!

  3. I just love that you did this post! Thank you.

  4. I've always spelled it with the "e" and I've been corrected many time and told it was lunging and not longeing. Thanks for clearing this up and now I can actually point to your blog post as a back up and to show I was right of course!



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