In addition to the tangling issue. I do warn folks that turning in tight circles or rollbacks or whatever can be a lot of work for a horse without enough fitness. IMO, the place where you need to be really, really careful is with the horse who doesn't have lot of ligament/bone fitness. For the same reason, I like longer-than-average long lines. It lets your circle be bigger. I finally had a pair of 50'-ers made (read: I bought 100' of rope). These are a tad too long-- I need to keep strict track of the bight of the reins and my feet. But IMO, the average 30' lunge line, or even 25'-er means that the horse will always be on a circle smaller than 20m.
Yup, far prefer to longeing! Longeing even with side reins always seems pretty pointless to me. Long lining gives you so much more control to actually work the horse.
I don't have access to a round pen, so use the arena. I don't have actual long lines, I just use two longe lines. Yes, your circle will be smaller, but I don't work my horses so long or so hard that I worry about the stress on their bodies. Also, shorter lines = less line to get in the way and trip over.
I don't do anything fancy, just WTC left and right, some walking changes of direction, maybe the occasional poles.
Definitely! You are short changing all the youngsters if you don't. Teaching the basics of walking, halting and turning are invaluable.
Every single baby is taught this way at Otteridge Farm.
My ponies were always long-lined by my old school, ex jockey, trainer as a kid..
It is the best way to start a horse, period.
I've been breaking saddle horses for 50 years and TB race horses for 40 years and have never "backed/mounted" a horse who was not long lined first. I want steering, brakes and back, in place before I put any rider on!! Makes it a lot easier for horse and rider!! And I'll go back to long lines if I get a horse who objects to moving forward or has other under saddle quirks.
I hope this isn't co-opting the thread, but do any of you who long line regularly have recommendations for books or videos for someone wishing to learn?
Long lines are also nice for the recalcitrant older one. You know the one I'm talking about-- the one who knows he can sull up and buck big or otherwise call the rider's bluff. A great deal can be worked out on long-lines whether the horse's MO is to go forward or refuse to.
I love long lining. Of course I come from Saddlebredland too so....
And my equipment is very near and dear to my heart. You can take my saddle, all my bridles, even my favorite bits... but do NOT misuse my surcingle.
My trainer has been doing it with my young horse. She bred and raised 19 of her own and did it with them.
Not just for breaking babiers, great exercise for the older horse or rehabbing after injury. Although for this I like the longer lines that MVP mentions, keep the shorter ones for greenies that I need more control over.
There may be books out there but you do need hands on experience to develop the skills needed to not trip over your feet, lines, etc all while not getting dizzy. :winkgrin:
I long line on occasion....usually when I'm starting a young one. And then I swear I'm going to keep doing it once they're under saddle and I usually end up too short on time (that's a nicer way of saying "too lazy," btw). I think it's a really fantastic way to get a horse to warm up and loosen up without someone in the tack. But I still end up on the horse much more often than I break out the long lines.
I'll go against the grain here and say that I did learn how to long line from my old H/J trainer. But he was one of those "old horsemen" types who was also a farrier and all around incredible working horseman who knew how to find 'em, break 'em, train 'em, fix 'em, and win with them (er...'em?). Not a lot of those guys around (then or now)!
I ground drive all of them. Always use it to start horses under saddle but I also do it with nearly every horse that comes to me for training. It gets them focused on you and gets them used to the lines--I also get them used to the lines dragging behind them etc. I do not have a fenced in arena or round pen so I use a helper at first and make sure the horse is solid and calm in every step before going on to the next.
I usually just ground drive off a halter or sidepull. I use climbing rope for lines. I do the TTEAM thing with two sets of lines, one on the base of the neck to teach half halt and one on the halter.
It is incredibly valuable!
Nice to hear so many people do this. I wish everyone would!
I've used it for some of mine but not for others....never really started a young horse before so I can't honestly say I have any experience in using it as a training tool before putting a horse under saddle.
As an update I have an intermediate/advanced lesson on Sundays. Pulled out a horse and taught them to long line! Gave a little bit of theory about why we do it, then let them watch me. Heard a couple of them talk about how easy it was behind my back :) Then let them have a go! It was FUNNY! I've been doing it for so long I forgot how much you just have to feel that contact. And boy using your voice. It's so important when long lining and it took a LOT to get them to use their voice. Anyway it was fun to teach them, and they were all laughing and giggling at the end (there's 4 of them) and were talking about it all excited. So, it looks like it's a success. Also had 2 more people ask me to teach them, so it looks like I may be offering a clinic!
Our H/J farm does it and lots of single line ground work, it is amazing.
Yes, I do. (I also know how to drive and have started driving horses too). I start in the round pen and later I will ground drive them down our private road. Its a perfect step between round penning and actually riding them.
I personally prefer a square or rectangular pen. If everything turns to sh**, you can put them into a wall. With a round pen you really have no emergency "stop"!! Over the years...and working alone...I've added some new tricks and a safety net or two. The first time in lines I also put a lunge line straight to the halter - not through the surcingle rings. I makes a handful of reins, but if things go south you can drop or loosen the driving lines and just stop/turn the horse with the lunge line. Another trick is to put the off rein through the ring, but the near rein straight to the side of the halter. You can drive them straight and turn softly, but if the horse freaks you don't end up having them spin and hog tie themselves. And one more safety gadget...I put BIG carabiner (sp) snaps to my surcingle rings so that in an emergency I can pop the reins out without running the length of reins through the ring. Usually if the horse has any foundation and/or brains they adapt well to driving/long lining and you can teach them sooooo much before you step aboard!!
I long line/ground drive all youngsters before climbing aboard. I've used it on ponies that needed some tune ups but I didn't want to make carry my weight. I've used it on horses who had rehab needs, and older horses who needed workouts without riding.
But the BEST use I've found for it was helping riders learn to stear hind end.
Cause go ahead and try to turn off an inside rein while behind the horse. It a) doesn't work b) lets you see just how much it messes up the horse's balance when you do something so foolish and c) if you really irratate the horse, you might just do a little water skiing.
I have one adult beginner that whenever she starts acting silly and turning off that inside rein, I say "pretend you are ground driving....how would you fix this?" Works like a charm. :D